TAMPA, Fla. — Tampa General Hospital is taking a big step towards addressing behavioral health concerns in the Tampa Bay community.

Earlier this year Senate Bill 330, also known as the Live Healthy Act, was passed. It helped to establish TGH as one of four behavioral health teaching hospitals.

What You Need To Know

  • Tampa General Hospital’s Behavioral Teaching Hospital is almost complete

  • The new facility is one of four behavioral health teaching hospitals

  • With more than 100 beds, the new facility will provide specialized care for patients

State and local leaders posed outside the building Monday to celebrate the milestone of the teaching center nearing completion.

It’s a project months in the making, and one that will help treat patients suffering with mental health and substance abuse. 

John Couris, the president and CEO of TGH, says it’s a place people can get the help they desperately need.

“We want to build something that is not only resilient and innovative but is wrapped with academics and research because what will be behind you will have residents, it will have research,” he said.

The center is a partnership between TGH, the University of South Florida and LifePoint Behavioral Health.

As of last year, more than half of the U.S. population was reported living in a space that lacks mental health professionals.

Dr. Charles Lockwood, the executive vice president with USF, says the facility is one that will give students an opportunity to learn while also helping. 

“We will increase the number and quality of state-of-the-art clinical trials," he said. "Working with our partners will provide a new level of accessible, innovative and effective cate for those who need it most.”

With more than 100 beds, the new facility will provide specialized care for patients.

Terri Balliet, CEO of Children's Network of Hillsborough, attended the event to learn more about the resources that will be available.

“There’s so much tragedy that happens within our families and we need to make sure that the treatment that we’re providing is consistent and accurate,” she said. “We want to be able to get to a point where our parents and our children raise their hand and say I need help.”

The hospital is expected to be completed by later this year.

TGH says the goal will be to collaborate with other health centers to continue expanding their research and helping others through their diagnosis.