The long-awaited crisis stabilization unit for children suffering from psychiatric or substance abuse emergencies will open its doors Oct. 1 at the Centers in Ocala, a spokeswoman said Friday.
The unit will have 10 beds and be open to children ages 17 and younger, said Laurie Z. Menard, a Centers spokeswoman.
"This is a start," she said.
Menard said the Centers, which serves Citrus and Marion counties, should have 15 beds to meet the needs of children in the two-county region.
The new unit represents a dramatic improvement over the current situation _ there are no such beds in the two counties. Last year, the Centers had to send more than 300 children outside the counties for help.
The unit will cost roughly $1-million annually to operate. This year, the state gave the Centers more than $850,000. The hospital, formerly known as Marion-Citrus Mental Health, then sought donations from the community for the remaining amount, Menard said.
She said the public is welcome to attend a grand opening ceremony for the unit from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at the Centers, 5664 SW 60th Ave., Ocala. Anyone interested in attending should RSVP to (352) 291-5462.