FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WFFT) — Several small shovels of dirt won’t do much compared to the large construction equipment on the corner of Huguenard and Washington Center Road.
But it’s the hospital that will stand in its place that has Community Health’s Mark Medley so excited.
"Pride, optimism, that this will be a place where those in need of hope can find that, can make a difference in their lives and for countless generations to come," Medley said.
Lutheran Health and Acadia Healthcare broke ground Thursday morning on Maple Heights Behavioral Health, a $45 million facility dedicated to those struggling with mental health.
"[There will be] 120 beds for inpatient care. And then the ability to serve even more than that on an ongoing basis through outpatient care," Medley said. "I believe absolutely, we’ll make a difference."
The field may not look like much right now, but by next Spring, officials expect it to host resources that can not only save lives, but can also help erase the stigma surrounding mental health.
"There’s often a misunderstanding that mental illness is not a disease. It is in fact a disease, and people suffer, and people die as a result of that disease," said Acadia Healthcare's Dr. Jeffrey Woods.
Woods says it’s important to provide easy access to those who need help, especially now more than ever in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The incidents and prevalence of depression and anxiety and mood disorders and thought disorders is staggering," Woods said. "And so bringing a full-service state-of-the-art hospital to the community so we can help improve their lives, improve their ability to function day-to-day, maintain the family system, these are all goals that we have for this hospital."
Woods says Acadia is the largest provider of mental health services in the country.
So Medley knows working with them on the Maple Heights project can help bring these much-needed resources to Northeast Indiana.
"We knew that there was a need for those services, an even greater need than we’ve been able to historically care for and serve at St. Joseph Hospital," Medley said. "So it’s very rewarding now to see that come to life with this groundbreaking, and we look forward to this facility becoming reality next year."
Medley estimates Maple Heights will also create around 400 new jobs by the time it opens next year.