ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – Carilion Clinic is expanding its footprint at Tanglewood Mall in Roanoke County to better meet the needs of the community.
Carilion Clinic’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine is rebranding and will now be called Carilion Mental Health, located inside a new 37,000 square foot building inside Tanglewood Mall.
It will serve as a new, expanded outpatient treatment and research center for people of all ages, with all types of mental health disorders.
Carilion Mental Health leaders said the goal of rebranding and relocating is to fight stigma surrounding mental illness and reduce barriers to care.
“Allowing people in for treatment without stigmatizing them, we empower ourselves as a community, as a region, as a nation,” said Dr. Robert Trestman, Ph.D., M.D., and Chair of Carilion Mental Health.
He said people don’t need to be afraid or embarrassed to seek help.
“We have thought of those all too often as a sign of weakness or of a moral failing, when they’re brain disorders,” said Trestman. “And even more than just being brain disorders, they’re treatable disorders. So many of us don’t want to acknowledge that we’re hurting, that we’re suffering and that we might receive care.”
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about a quarter of American adults suffer from mental illness, but less than half of them receive treatment. Nearly half of teenagers ages 13 to 18 live with a mental illness.
Trestman also said transportation is another barrier to care.
Tanglewood Mall is on the bus line, close to the highway, and has ample parking. Carilion Mental Health will also offer telehealth appointments.
Carilion Construction Project Manager Jennifer Rotenberry said people travel from West Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina to seek care at Carilion in Roanoke.
“We’re receiving patients not only from the Roanoke [area] and this region, but also neighboring state states,” said Rotenberry. “Some folks driving a distance and coming here for multiple appointments.”
She said the new location is centralized, near businesses and restaurants and will help revitalize the mall and that part of Roanoke County.
Access to care is a third barrier, according to Trestman.
He said that Southwest Virginia doesn’t have enough mental health providers. Carilion has a months-long waitlist, an issue seen across the country.
He said the expanded site allows Carilion the opportunity to grow its mental health services and attract new hires, thanks to its partnership with Virginia Tech and Radford University.
“We can help to make it better and we can help to empower each and every one of the people in our community to lead a full life,” said Trestman.
Construction is ahead of schedule. Carilion Mental Health is set to open for patients in October.