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Feature Story: Worsened by COVID, behavioral health issues grow

InterFace HRE panelists discuss how the sector can meet facilities demand

By John B. Mugford

Demand for behavioral health facilities is growing due to increased demand for related services, according to a panel discussion conducted at the recent Interface Healthcare Real Estate Conference in Dallas. (HREI photo)

Although the prevalence of mental health issues among adults and young people in the United States has been growing for years, it has accelerated significantly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

By some accounts, the isolation, financial stress and other issues caused by the pandemic have doubled or even tripled the demand for behavioral health services. And some of the stigma associated with mental illness has declined thanks to the candid disclosures of prominent athletes and social media influencers like Olympic gymnast Simone Biles and champion tennis player Naomi Osaka.

So with the need for help increasing — and getting help becoming more socially acceptable — behavioral health has become a hot topic in healthcare and healthcare real estate (HRE).

A group of panelists at the 12th annual InterFace HRE Conference in Dallas in late August took a closer look at the topic, from both a healthcare and real estate perspective. It’s why this group of panelists included professionals from mental and behavioral health organizations as well as real estate professionals.

The moderator, Nathan Golik, senior VP of business development with Denver-based NexCore Group LLC, introduced the panelists, and noted that

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