Beds in Bed-Stuy: Interfaith Medical Center opens $13.8M behavioral health unit

ribbon cutting of behavioral health unit at one brooklyn health
One Brooklyn Health celebrated the opening of a new behavioral health unit on Wednesday.
Photo courtesy of One Brooklyn Health

Bed-Stuy’s Interfaith Medical Center unveiled a newly renovated 24-bed behavioral health unit during a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday, and will begin admitting patients as soon as next week to the second of four planned psychiatric units at the Central Brooklyn campus.

The $13.8 million unit is made up of eleven double bedrooms and two singles, each with a private bathroom. Brightly lit common areas invite patients to gather while being surrounded by murals of Brooklyn’s most famous landmarks, and locals such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Biggie Smalls. 

Each room also has secure cabinets, behind which are emergency outlets and oxygen outlets so that the new unit can be quickly converted into a medical surgical unit, if needed.

behavioral health rooms
Each room has a private bathroom, and brightly-lit, comfortable communal spaces invite patients to gather together. Photo courtesy of One Brooklyn Health.Photo by Adam Daly

The renovation was made possible with funding from the Kings County Health Care Facilities Transformation Program — a $664M capital grant allocated to One Brooklyn Health by New York State. Interfaith opened its first renovated behavioral health unit, with 24 beds, last year.

OBH CEO LaRay Brown said the health provider will be spending more than $90 million on improving the physical spaces of its psychiatric inpatient units throughout Brooklyn, with another two behavior units in the pipeline for Interfaith Medical Center.

Following a tour of the facility, Brown thanked the local state representatives for the funding “To make investments after decades of disinvestment in Brooklyn, in spaces like this to serve our community”.

“We all know we have a crisis of mental health in this country, and in Brooklyn in particular,” he said. “And from my perspective, the people in Brooklyn who need this service need an environment that is not only respectful, but safe and also representative of the community from which they come.”

OBH has an extensive network of primary, behavioral health and specialty care locations spread throughout Central Brooklyn. The hospital network offers inpatient and outpatient psychiatric care for youth and adults, including counseling, alternative housing services, and substance abuse detox and maintenance programs. 

The new psychiatric care beds came online as the state continued a push to restore psychiatric services lost during and leading up to the pandemic. Between 2014 and 2022, New York state lost more than 1,000 psychiatric care beds, according to news outlet The City, and 850 were closed at the start of the pandemic in 2020. Activists have said behavioral health and psychiatric care units are badly needed as existing unit struggle to keep up with the number of patients admitted.