SSM Health St. Mary's Hospital is looking to provide more resources for mental health patients via a new renovation.

The hospital is looking to not only reach more people in their expansion, but also transform the kind of care they provide in a multimillion dollar expansion and renovation of its adult Behavioral Health Unit.

"Other hospitals across the country are closing their inpatient units, and resources in Dane County are becoming increasingly limited," said SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital President Jon Rozenfeld. “We are proud that this project will allow us to increase the number of beds available to treat adults suffering from mental illness while providing newly redesigned quiet, comfortable space for rest and healing.”

The current unit, built in the 1990s, is outdated and can only serve 20 patients, even then, at times patients have to share a room. St. Mary's Hospital has provided mental health care for more than 60 years and currently is the largest adult inpatient behavioral health unit in Dane County.

"Parts of our current unit feel somewhat dated," said psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Sager. "The newly redesigned space will have a very calming and therapeutic feeling. We know that the environment can impact a patient’s emotional well-being. We look forward to being able to provide a more home-like setting.”

The expansion will focus on creating better privacy, quiet spaces and meeting areas for families. The redesign will increase the capacity by 20 to 25 percent to include private rooms for patients, filling a need in Dane County.

"Some of our most vulnerable people are having to leave the county because the bed availability is not there for them," said Journey Mental Health Center CEO Ronald Lampert.

Lampert and St. Mary's are working on a potential partnership that would help patients make the transition from the hospital to out-patient care at Journey Mental Health. Keeping patients close to home is a critical part of the recovery process, according to Lampert.

"We are better able to coordinate the care for the consumer, for the person who is being admitted to the hospital. What better place to be treated for your psychiatric condition than the community where you are at where you may have a social network or support that will help you post discharge," he said.

The project is estimated to cost $4.2 million. The SSM Health St. Mary's Foundation is looking to raise the $1.5 million dollars needed for the project through the Restoring Strength & Hope campaign.

Donations can be made by visiting the foundation’s website at or by calling 608-258-5600.