Baptist Health Care Finalizes Plans for Behavioral Health Unit


Baptist Health Care has finalized plans for its behavioral health unit on the new Baptist Hospital campus being built at the intersection of Brent Lane and I-110.

The BHU will provide inpatient behavioral health care for adults and children. It will have 72 beds with 36 allocated for adult patients, 10 for geriatric patients, 14 for adolescents and 12 for children. “We provide care to thousands of individuals requiring inpatient behavioral health care each year. More than 1,100 of those patients are children ages 10 to 17 and as young as age 5,” said Mark Faulkner, president and CEO, Baptist Health Care. “We are honored to bring this new facility and environment to our community that will offer a haven in which patients can focus on their recovery.”

In addition to patient rooms, the floor plan includes day rooms for common gatherings, meeting spaces for group and one-on-one gatherings, and a sensory room which combines a variety of stimuli including special lighting, colors and sound that help people develop, engage and regulate their senses. Nurses stations are positioned to support patient monitoring and access. The location’s design provides efficiency, comfort and safety for patients and staff.

Outdoor spaces are an important part of the healing environment. A main garden courtyard is situated in the center of the facility, and small gardens and a play area are dotted around the building’s perimeter to provide additional play space for children and a calm respite area for adults.

The design elements of the BHU coordinate with those of the main hospital building and the Bear Family Foundation Health Center. Colors reflecting the coastal environment have been selected to create a setting that is calm, soothing and healing. Abundant natural light, which has been shown to play a crucial role in healing, is used throughout the design. The surroundings complement the high level of clinical expertise and compassionate care of Baptist Hospital’s behavioral health unit team, a multi-disciplinary group of psychiatrists, nurses, therapists and counselors.

“At our new location, we are adding inpatient geriatric services while offering more private rooms, including those for the child and adolescent unit,” said Eric Rutledge, executive director of behavioral health services. “Our goal is to incorporate the latest technologies and techniques in a setting where our patients feel safe and can fully engage in their treatment plan.”

The announcement of these finalized plans coincides with the start of National Mental Health Awareness Month. A recent study shows that residents of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties consider mental health issues to be the second most important health concern affecting the local community. The research was conducted by Achieve Healthy EscaRosa, a health collaborative comprised of local health care providers, health departments, nonprofit organizations and the University of West Florida that is focused on improving the overall health of residents in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. The BHU represents Baptist Health Care’s commitment to and investment in providing needed behavioral health services.

The BHU is scheduled to open with the rest of the campus in Fall 2023. Its estimated cost is over $30 million. 

Baptist Health Care is a not-for-profit health care organization based in northwest Florida that is committed to helping people throughout life's journey. The organization is a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network. Baptist continuously strives to be a national leader in quality and service. Baptist Health Care includes three hospitals, four medical parks, Andrews Institute for Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine and a large network of primary care and specialty physicians. Baptist Health Care is one of the largest non-governmental employers in northwest Florida.

Baptist Health Care ● Baptist Hospital ● Gulf Breeze Hospital ● Jay Hospital ● Baptist Medical Parks Airport, Nine Mile, Navarre and Pace ● Andrews Institute ● Baptist Medical Group ● Baptist Heart & Vascular Institute ● Mayo Clinic Care Network

For more information about this press release or to schedule an interview, please contact Kathy Bowers at 850.791.5254 or