The Student News Site of Conestoga High School



Haven Behavioral Hospital planned to open in West Chester

Vanessa Chen / The SPOKE
Moving toward mental health: The new Haven Behavioral Hospital in West Chester plans to provide 24/7 inpatient psychiatric care and walk-in clinical services. The Chester County Department of Human Services established the facility to set up a new comprehensive mental health system.

By Vanessa Chen, Staff Reporter

The only dedicated behavioral health center in Chester County, the Haven Behavioral Hospital of West Chester, will open its facilities by early 2024.

Previously, the county provided behavioral health services through the mental health department of the Brandywine Hospital, but the hospital shut down in January 2022 due to financial issues. In response to the lack of a behavioral health center, and as part of its initiative to create a new comprehensive mental health system, the Chester County Department of Human Services decided to establish the facility.

County commissioners issued a grant of $2 million to fund the new hospital, which will provide 24/7 inpatient care and walk-in clinic services to residents.

“I think that the county is aware that mental health is a priority and that there are a lot of people in need,” said Jenna Grabiak, one of Conestoga’s mental health specialists. “Ever since Brandywine Hospital closed, they were very aware that there was a void (in mental health services), and it really needed to be filled within the boundaries of our own county.”

When it opens, the new facility will be one of the three inpatient hospitals in Pennsylvania managed by Haven Behavioral Healthcare, a national organization with a large network of facilities across the U.S. According to Grabiak, without a dedicated behavioral health center in Chester County, many residents who need mental health services have no choice but to go to emergency rooms. Additionally, patients that require continuous care, such as inpatient treatment, have to travel to other counties to receive the necessary care.

“The new Haven Behavioral Hospital services and the many other behavioral health programs, trainings and services provided throughout the county will be transformational in supporting the overall wellness of those who live in Chester County,” Michelle Kichline, one of the county’s commissioners, said in a statement to the public.

Conestoga mental health specialist Grace Gara believes that the importance of mental health has become increasingly apparent, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. She is hopeful that both Chester County’s recent mental health initiatives as well as the establishment of the Haven Behavioral Hospital of West Chester will ensure that professionals will take care of all aspects of residents’ health.

“With behavioral health, there’s a lot of unfamiliarity with treatment and what that looks like and how to access it for individuals that might be seeking out support for themselves or a loved one,” Gara said. “So, having something that’s more available is going to be really helpful to people so that they are able to get that access and awareness that they need in order to receive the help that they need.”

Vanessa Chen can be reached at [email protected].

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Vanessa Chen, Staff Reporter
Vanessa Chen is a sophomore and a Staff Reporter for The Spoke. She has previously written for the T/E Life and News sections. Outside of the newsroom, she enjoys marching band, tennis and art.