Federal, state and local elected officials Monday joined leaders from Strategic Behavioral Health (SBH) in Kingsport to celebrate the grand opening of Creekside Behavioral Health, a 72-bed inpatient hospital that will serve children, adolescents, adults, and seniors facing mental health and substance abuse challenges.
Kingsport Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Miles Burdine hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony, which featured remarks from state and local elected officials as well as leaders from SBH and Creekside Behavioral Health.
“Today has been a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our new facility in a community that has been tremendously welcoming,” said SBH Founder & President Jim Shaheen. “Creekside Behavioral Health will be an asset to residents in Kingsport and throughout the entire region, providing quality care to patients and families dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues. SBH is pleased to play a role in making this new hospital a reality, and we appreciate the support we’ve received from elected officials and local leaders.”
Shaheen said SBH has invested around $20 million in the Kingsport facility, which was first proposed five years ago. The facility will not fill all 72 beds the moment it opens its doors, Shaheen said. “You don’t want us to do that.” Instead, Shaheen said, the rollout of services will come as staff are in place and ready to handle the full case load for which the facility is designed.Creekside Behavioral Health CEO Brandon Wardell said, “Our team of highly-trained doctors, nurses and staff will provide exceptional services to citizens who need help overcoming addiction or mental health problems. It’s an honor to join the Kingsport community, and we look forward to providing the critical care necessary to improve wellness in the region.”
The facility will begin operations with a staff of around 150, then grow to up to 250.
Prior to the opening of the Creekside facility, the quantity of inpatient beds for mental health service has dwindled rapidly since the 1980s in America and in the region. U.S. Representative Phil Roe said, “As a physician with more than 30 years of experience, I know how important specialized health facilities are to the overall well-being of our country. The opioid epidemic has ravaged communities across the United States, particularly in East Tennessee. The Creekside Behavioral Health will provide vital services to people of all ages struggling with mental health and addiction, and I look forward to see how this new facility will positively impact our district by providing access to quality care.”
“Acute psychiatric hospitals are an important component in the overall continuum of care for those in need,” said Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Deputy Commissioner William “Bo” Turner, Ph.D., FACHE. “They provide care, often in times of crisis, that helps individuals return back to home and community.”
Sullivan County Mayor Richard Venable said, “The new Creekside Behavioral Health facility will provide a critical, much-needed service for the people of Sullivan County. It couldn’t come at a better time. On behalf of the people of Sullivan County, I want to thank Mr. Shaheen and his team for their hard work in making this facility a reality. It was a long, difficult process but we persevered and we’re thankful for this wonderful result.”
Kingsport Mayor John Clark said, “We very much appreciate Creekside Behavioral Health for bringing much needed mental health and substance abuse services to Kingsport, Sullivan County, and the region. This facility creates the opportunity for patients and families who are impacted by mental illness to be treated in their own community, allowing for family involvement and participation in their treatment. We are grateful for their significant capital investment in the brand new, state-of-the-art hospital and bringing good paying jobs to the greater Kingsport area. This facility and services along with the Healthy Kingsport initiatives will help improve the overall health and wellness of our community.”
“Creekside Behavioral Health is providing a much-needed service for our region,” said Burdine. “Our medical and law enforcement communities are especially pleased to have them opening here. The Kingsport Chamber also appreciates the added jobs and capital investment. Additionally, the employees of Creekside have already become involved in and supportive of our region’s communities.”