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New 100-bed mental health hospital proposed in Mesa

Mesa's planning commission has approved a site plan review for building a new hospital near Elliot and Ellsworth roads.

MESA, Ariz. — A new 100-bed mental health hospital is under development in Mesa as the Valley grapples with a significant need for more behavioral health services. 

Acadia Healthcare, which already operates hospitals in Chandler and Tucson, has put in requests to construct another facility in east Mesa near Elliot and Ellsworth roads.

Last month, the Mesa Planning and Zoning Commission approved a site plan review for the 77,000-square-foot hospital that's projected to generate at least 158 new jobs in the East Valley community.

Some nearby residents expressed opposition to having a mental health hospital in their backyard, but Acadia's representatives assured city officials that the facility will be under constant surveillance and be surrounded by 14-foot-tall security walls.

Cassandra Ayres, an attorney representing the developers, said the proposed hospital will help fill a growing demand for mental health care in Arizona. 

There's a deficit of 893 beds in Maricopa County, she told city officials, based on the current need for treatment in the community. 

"We hope to use this facility to expand the access to quality behavioral health care," Ayres said. 

A 2020 report ranked Arizona nearly last in a national ranking of states measuring their rates of availability for mental health care providers. 

Despite the purported need for healthcare in Arizona, Valleywise Health announced earlier this summer it was closing 118 beds across its three behavioral health locations due to a lack of available staffing. 

Credit: City of Mesa

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