Retreat opens new Emerging Adult inpatient unit

BRATTLEBORO — Renovations that started in late July are now complete, and the Brattleboro Retreat has opened another in a series of specialty inpatient programs.

The new 12-bed Emerging Adult Program, located in the Retreat's Osgood Building, began accepting patients on Oct. 7. The 6,053 square-foot inpatient unit will accommodate young adults ages 18 to 26 who are dealing with a variety of serious psychiatric illnesses including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and clinical depression.

Research studies indicate that initial onset of serious mental illnesses is extremely common during young adulthood. As with many illnesses, diagnosing and treating psychiatric disorders as early as possible gives patients a better chance to successfully manage and even overcome their conditions.

The programming is also designed with sensitivity to the unique challenges faced by young adults: starting and ending relationships, establishing careers, becoming independent, and establishing new dynamics with parents.

According to Robert E. Simpson, the Retreat's president and chief executive officer, symptoms of serious psychiatric illnesses often hit people at a time of life when they're just getting started on the path to adulthood, when important life decisions are front and center.

“By helping these patients address the burdens of mental illness early on, we hope to give young adults a better chance to live fulfilling lives,” he said.

Similar to recent upgrades of inpatient units at the Retreat, the Emerging Adult Program will include a variety of state-of-the-art features such as:

• A two-bed alternative low stimulation area (ALSA) with an extra-large living room;

• A “quiet” room overlooking the Retreat Meadows;

• Quiet activity space with personal computers for patient use;

• Two interview rooms;

• An enlarged staff break room;

• Spacious medication room;

• Music capabilities in two group rooms plus the ALSA and unit corridors;

• A sensory room;

• Enlarged staff team meeting room; and

• Shared office space for physicians and social workers.

The Retreat's new Emerging Adult Program will be one of just a handful now available in the United States. It will be led by Debra McQuade, Ph.D., MD, who will serve as the program's unit chief.

“Young people with mental health issues have particular challenges on the path to adulthood,” McQuade said. “They deserve particular care, and that's what we will provide.”

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