When people struggle with mental health issues, they sometimes feel confused, overwhelmed and defeated. Thankfully, Cincinnatians have a phenomenal local resource in Lindner Center of HOPE, a national mental health center of excellence. The center employs 80 medical staff members, half of whom are full-time mental health providers. The other half are consultants such as cardiologists, neurologists and anesthesiologists. It is the largest medical staff of any free-standing mental health center in the country.

“Some of the leading residential programs around the country have doctors who come in one day a week,” says Tom Parker, licensed independent social worker and Lindner Center of HOPE’s director of external relations. “For us to have this many full-time trained staff on site every day in the same facility is our secret sauce.”

On staff are two of the world’s most respected and renowned psychiatrists — Paul Keck, M.D., and Susan McElroy, M.D. The center is a part of the UC Health system, one of the nation’s premiere academic health networks, and they have a research institute that helps them connect innovation directly with clinical care. Lindner Center of HOPE has helped create what they call a “network of hope,” which means they offer a wealth of mental health and addiction re- sources to the Cincinnati community but also connect local people to resources throughout the country. What truly sets Lindner Center of HOPE apart, however, is the fact that they offer the nation’s most respected residential comprehensive diagnostic services available.

“That part is really the cornerstone of our national reputation,” says Paul Crosby, M.D., president and chief operating officer at Lindner Center of HOPE.

When patients come in for their comprehensive diagnostic assessment, it’s a 10-day process. During that time, each patient meets with a team of expert professionals and clinicians who help them dive deep into all the symptoms and trauma they have experienced.

“It’s unpacking their whole life,” says Mikki Peavy, DNP, MSN, R.N., Lindner Center of HOPE’s residential services director. Every patient is assigned a psychiatrist, a social worker and a primary psychologist. An internal specialist joins the team, if needed.

“It’s not a cookie-cutter experience. It’s tailored to meet their needs,” says Peavy. And that’s why it takes 10 days.

“We may spend 10 days figuring out which car to buy, so why wouldn’t we do that for our mental health?” says Parker.

To have access to such an expansive mental health treatment team is rare.

“It sounds normal when you’re having surgery to have a surgeon, an anesthesiologist and a nurse, but people tend to think of mental health treatment as one-on-one,” says Peavy. “In our setting, the treatment team brings all these perspectives together to get the diagnosis correct and offer a blueprint for moving forward.”

The main goal of Lindner Center of HOPE is to initiate treatment and assessment and then connect each patient to a resource that can maintain their mental health stability beyond their 30- to 90-day stay. “We only treat for a short period of time, but we know the imporance of lifetime treatment, so we provide patients with options so they can succesfully maintain their mental health and addiction health beyond us,” says Peavy.

Lindner Center of HOPE provides patient services in safe, steady steps, from stabilization to assessment to treatment initiation. “This is Lindner Center of HOPE’s DNA,” says Parker.

He recognizes that anyone suffering from mental health and addictive disorder challenges has had a particularly difficult time coping with the anxiety generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the center has seen a spike in patient population due to COVID-19, the Lindner Center of HOPE staff has remained steadfast in their commitment to help.

“In March, when the pandemic response started in earnest, we realized pretty quickly that the best way we could serve our patients and greater health system was to remain open at full capacity to treat patients,” says Crosby. They knew that if mental illness is left untreated, it’s likely to manifest in physical ways.

“If people let their mental illnesses go, they may end up in the ER, which we expect to become overrun with COVID cases,” he says. “Therefore, staying open at full capacity actually helps the rest of the system manage the COVID surge.”

Lindner Center of HOPE is located at 4075 Old Western Row Road, Mason, OH 45040. For more information, call 513.536.HOPE (4673) or visit lindnercenterofhope.org