LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — Ochsner Lafayette General and Oceans Healthcare are joining forces to improve resources in the area for patients seeking mental health services by building a facility to specifically meet this need. Doctors say the need for more behavioral and mental health resources has increased since the pandemic. Oceans Healthcare CEO Stuart Archer says mental health is on a short list of concerns for our region.

According to a 2022 access to care survey, 43% of U.S. Adults who say they needed mental health care in the past 12 months did not receive that care and face countless barriers to needed access. That same study showed that reasons for unmet mental health needs included cost related issues, lack of providers in proximity and not being able to find a provider that offers services that are the best fit for the patients.

Ochsner Lafayette General’s CEO, Patrick Gandy says the hospital sees more than 300 behavioral health patients across their six emergency departments. Placement for adults can take hours. Adolescents sometimes have to wait days. Most of these patients are eventually placed outside of the Acadiana area.

Oceans Healthcare and Ochsner Lafayette General hope to give patients the care they need closer to home sometime in 2024.