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New Penn Highlands Dubois Behavioral Health Center

Penn Highlands Healthcare held a ribbon-cutting event for the Stern Center for Behavioral Health, their new mental health facility in Dubois, which specifically provides services to children and adolescents.

Officials within the system say that when this facility opens, kids will have access to mental health care that the area simply doesn’t have right now.

This building came with a $22 million price tag, but Penn Highlands Healthcare’s Vice President of Behavioral Health Services Richard Nenneau says it’ll offer top-of-the-line care.

“We will utilize the neurosequential model of therapeutics, which is a neurobiologically-based, developmentally based clinical therapeutic program here for the kids,”

He says this service is sorely needed.

“Last year, Penn Highlands Healthcare saw over 2,000 referrals for children and adolescents on our inpatient unit. We were only able to serve a little over 290,” he recalled. “So the need is tremendous in the region.”

And according to Dr. Kevin Patterson, the Medical Director of Penn Highlands Healthcare’s Behavioral Medicine Division, this facility is designed to address that demand.

“Broader outpatient services and same day clinic services, which are going to allow us to meet people in crisis and see them in the moment when they need us, rather than having to wait,”

Patterson says this facility will be one-of-a-kind in the region.

“This is something that this area has not had at all, and so we’re absolutely thrilled that that’s going to be something that we can provide here,”

Nenneau says that’s crucial, as he only expects the need for these services to grow.

“The ripple effects of the pandemic, the isolation that children felt, I think will have ripple effects down the road, and we’ll continue to see the need,” he predicted.

They hope to have the facility open in September.

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