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Marian Regional Medical Center to Open Behavioral Health Outpatient Unit

Highly anticipated behavioral health facility held blessing ceremony today

SANTA MARIA, CA – June 8, 2021 – After years of preparation, Marian Regional Medical Center today blessed the new Behavioral Health Outpatient Unit (BHOU) in anticipation of its opening in the coming months. This critically important facility will be open 24 hours a day for intervention, assessment, evaluation, therapy, and support for those experiencing a mental health crisis.

A minimum of 50 inpatient mental health beds are recommended to serve every 100,000 people, and Santa Barbara County only has four for every 100,000. With one out of every eight emergency department visits being behavioral health or substance abuse related, the BHOU will fill an incredible void in local health care and be staffed with specialty trained psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, and support staff.

Instead of waiting for an extended period in our Emergency Department for a transfer to an out-of-county inpatient mental health facility, our BHOU will see patients as soon as they are medically cleared, providing early treatment initiation. This new, local treatment option for urgent situations will fill an unmet need of our community, resulting in less need for out-of-town transfers for inpatient mental health care. Our expert staff will also more effectively coordinate follow up care with local resources, easing a burden for these patients and their families.

“Every year, nearly one in five people suffer from an acute psychiatric illness and would benefit from treatment,” says David Ketelaar, MD. “Mental health conditions were increasing in all age groups prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has accelerated this increase dramatically, making the need even more urgent, and we are committed to supporting local behavioral health services to meet the needs of our community.”

To commemorate the generosity of its supporters, the Marian Regional Medical Center Foundation has created opportunities for a public and enduring record of those who have contributed generously to making the project a reality. Gifts in support of the BHOU may be pledged over a three to five year period. There are available naming opportunities and a plaque, inscribed according to the wishes of the donor, will mark each named location.

To learn more about Marian Regional Medical Center’s BHOU, visit:

Tours of the Behavioral Health Unit

[PHOTOS: TOP-Dr. Ketelaar addresses the crowd at the BHOU Blessing Ceremony, BOTTOM: Tours of the BHOU were given to attendees]


About Marian Regional Medical Center
Marian Regional Medical Center is a state-of-the-art, 191-bed medical center located in Santa Maria, CA. The modern facility is home to a broad array of services including a level III trauma center, a level II neonatal intensive care unit, a nationally recognized cardiac care center, and boasts the Central Coast’s only Comprehensive Community Cancer Program as recognized by the Commission on Cancer. Marian has been recognized for quality and patient safety and named one of America’s 250 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades®.

Marian Regional Medical Center together with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital in Arroyo Grande, CA and French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, CA make up Dignity Health Central Coast, a network of hospitals, physicians, and outpatient services including physician offices, ambulatory surgery centers, technologically-advanced laboratories and imaging centers, and a full service home health agency.

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