Madison Health Behavioral Unit benefits community with some challenges along the way
REXBURG, Idaho (KIFI) - For the past couple years, the Madison Health group has been providing a mental health unit at the hospital. The Behavioral Unit as it is called serves adults who are aged 18 and over in emergency mental health situations.
Since opening in September 2021, the unit has since been a large benefit to Madison County and surrounding areas, providing a place for people to come in and get the treatment they need for their mental health.
"Our unit only holds 12 patients at a time. We average close to 8 to 10 patients," Behavioral Health Unit for Madison Health Director Tera Bybee said.
Part of what has helped the unit treat people is the growth of mental health needs in the area.
"We've seen a lot of increase in mental health awareness within the community. It's allowed the community be able to see that there are mental health needs and that we're here to support them locally, which has been a huge help. And if we're able to keep them here instead of having to transfer them down to another behavioral health unit, then we can keep them locally," Bybee said.
The unit is supervised by two psychiatrists, and since its opening has been almost always full. Patients in the unit may stay for approximately a week with some stays being longer or shorter depending on need.
Typically they'll stay for about 6 to 8 days, is an average stay for them," Bybee said.
The stay has helped provide much needed help to those who are in a mental health crisis.
"I think it's wonderful that people are seeing the opportunity that there's a resource for them, especially when they're in mental health crisis. We want them to be able to reach out. We want them to go to the local ERs and to seek that help and to be able to get the help they need so they can get back on their feet and be able to have a life," Bybee said.
As mental health needs continue to grow so too does the need for the unit. The largest concern right now being suicidal thoughts and depression.
"Our number one admitting diagnosis is suicidal ideation, suicidal thoughts typically brought on by depression and anxiety. We also see some psychosis and schizophrenia and also a lot of bipolar and manic needs and patients that just they need and they need assistance to be able to receive coping mechanism and some medication stability," Bybee said.
She encouraged all those who are dealing with a mental health emergency to seek help any way they can.
"There is always the national suicide hotline that they can call as well if they're having any suicidal thoughts that they can't reach out to anybody But any of your local emergency departments can be able to reach out to inpatient behavioral health centers and provide that need in that service," Bybee said.
We are also told that people who come to the unit for help, generally leave with a new outlook and are able to move forward. For more information on the unit, click here.