Mental health in-patient Purchase Area Youth Village to open soon

There will soon be new options for families looking for help with mental health. The Purchase Area Youth Village in Benton, Kentucky, will hold an open house this week, and it will open in July.

It’s a longer-term, in-patient care facility to help treat mental health in children up to 21 years old. This would be the first facility of its kind in the Purchase area. Currently, patients who need that kind of in-patient treatment are traveling hours away to Bowling Green, Owensboro, Hopkinsville and out-of-state facilities.

I talked to counselors who told me sometimes that type of treatment can be very serious in nature, and it’s important to be close to home.

When a child is in a room I saw Monday, it’s not for the teddy bear or the crayons. It’s for a much more serious reason: an interview about a possible sexual assault. Lori Brown is the executive director at the Purchase Area Sexual Assault and Child Advocacy Center. She sees children and families at the most dire times in their lives.

“For these kids who’ve experienced abuse, we see little ones as young as a year old," Brown says.

Brown can help children and families with any medical, legal, or therapeutic part of recovery, but sometimes that’s not enough. “Being able to refer them to inpatient care can be critical for these children," she says.

But, you add distance traveled on top of recovering from a trauma, and that’s a problem. "We know the best way to protect kids is to build strong families," Brown says. Family members and loved ones are important for healing. That’s why, when children can lay their head down and know they’re closer to home, it aids in recovery time.

Denise Lester with the Purchase Youth Village says children, teens, and their families can stabilize there for whatever trauma, behavioral issue, or mental illness they’re working through.

“If we don’t deal with our kids, they’re going to become adults with real dysfunctional behaviors," Lester says.

If more children are seen in that room, advocacy and treatment centers can help foster happier, healthier lives.

It will be a 24-bed facility, and will house girls and boys. But, there are different wings for the genders.

Initially, the Youth Village was only supposed to serve patients with autism. One of the doctors and part-owners said they’ve expanded the kinds of services they offer to encompass all types of mental and behavioral health concerns, autism included.

Potential patients at the Purchase Youth Village will need to be referred by legal or medical professionals. The average stay will be three months.

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