New Hotness: Urban Core Mental Health Help

Right now we take a peek at the reasoning behind new local facilities and just a bit of hype for a local hospital.

To be fair these services are desperately needed in a convenient location . . .

The decision to locate the center in this particular spot was intentional. “It would have been less expensive to purchase land in a more rural area and build a psychiatric hospital there,”  Executive director of mental and behavioral health for the University of Kansas Health System, Lauren Lucht says, “but the partnership with the community was really the driving force here.”

This approach represents an emerging school of thought in mental health facility design. Until recently, many such facilities purposefully removed their patients from public life, sending them out into serene rural environments, or walling them off in fortress-like psychiatric hospitals. This arrangement, though isolating, was long thought to be best for both patients and society.

But new facilities like Strawberry Hill exhibit a new way of thinking, one in which mental health facilities are seen not as a risk or a burden to the surrounding community, but a potential boon, bringing with them the same social and economic benefits that any medical hospital would — while helping to destigmatize mental health care in the process.

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Welcome to Your Friendly Neighborhood Mental Health Center

While communities often see large mental health facilities as a threat, one Kansas City neighborhood is discovering it can be an asset. In the fall of 2019, Lauren Lucht was walking to the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the new Strawberry Hill mental and behavioral health center in Kansas City, Kansas, when a passing driver rolled down his window.