St. Luke’s to Open Region’s First 24-Hour, Outpatient Walk-In Mental Health Center in Lehighton
June 29, 2022

St. Luke’s University Health Network will celebrate the completion of the construction of the region’s first 24-hour walk-in mental health clinic with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 1 p.m. Thursday, June 30th at 211 North 12th Street in Lehighton. The new center -- one of the first of its kind in Pennsylvania – will open at a time of growing need for mental health services across the country.

Expected to be on-hand for the ceremony will be John Nespoli, president of both St. Luke’s Lehighton Campus and new Carbon Campus; Najma Khanani, MD, medical director of the Lehighton Campus Psychiatric Services; and Jody McCloud-Missmer, St. Luke’s service line administrator of Behavioral Health Services.

The walk-in center is designed to serve individuals 14 and up by assessing and addressing a variety of mental health circumstances in a comfortable, non-intimidating environment. Those issues might include anxiety, panic attacks, depression, grief, thoughts of self-harm, mood swings, anger, school phobia, and others, according to Khanani.

“This walk-in center, both by its purposeful architectural design and our outreach efforts, is to have people feel that they are in a welcoming and comfortable environment, not one that feels clinical and analytic,” she said. “We hope that the community we will be serving will see us as members of that community, as well as a sources of comfort and support to them.”

Visitors seeking mental health services through the new center will find a space designed to resemble a comfortable, homey living room, according to Network Director of Clinical Therapy Services and Psychotherapist Amie Allanson-Dundon. Once there, they will be greeted by a medical receptionist, meet with a trained crisis intervention specialist and, if needed, a mental health professional.

There is, she added “no wrong door to mental health services,” but the walk-in center is intended to serve those ‘struggling in the moment’ – not experiencing the kind of mental health crisis that would require emergency in-patient admission. “It’s a hub, an option for someone to be able to be assessed and connected to the resources they need, and walk out with no sense of judgement.”

By offering the new option of a walk-in mental health center, the St. Luke’s network can now extend the benefits to the broader community by reducing the need for dealing with psychiatric issues in hospital emergency departments and reducing demands on the justice system as well.

“We will be reaching out to the members of this community to educate them about this option and to encourage them to feel more comfortable seeking the help they might need,” Khanani said.




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About St. Luke’s

Founded in 1872, St. Luke’s University Health Network (SLUHN) is a fully integrated, regional, non-profit network of more than 17,000 employees providing services at 14 campuses and 300+ outpatient sites. With annual net revenue of $3 billion, the Network’s service area includes 11 counties in two states: Lehigh, Northampton, Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Montgomery, Monroe, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties in Pennsylvania and Warren and Hunterdon counties in New Jersey. St. Luke’s hospitals operate the biggest network of trauma centers in Pennsylvania.

Dedicated to advancing medical education, St. Luke’s is the preeminent teaching hospital in central-eastern Pennsylvania. In partnership with Temple University, the Network established the Lehigh Valley’s first and only regional medical school campus. It also operates the nation’s longest continuously operating School of Nursing, established in 1884, and 40 fully accredited graduate medical educational programs with 419 residents and fellows. In 2022, St. Luke’s, a member of the Children’s Hospital Association, opened the Lehigh Valley’s first and only free-standing facility dedicated entirely to kids.

SLUHN is the only Lehigh Valley-based health care system to earn Medicare’s five-star ratings (the highest) for quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction. It is both a Leapfrog Group and Healthgrades Top Hospital and a Newsweek World’s Best Hospital. U.S. News & World Report ranked St. Luke’s #1 in the Lehigh Valley and #6 in the state. Three of IBM Watson Health’s 100 Top Hospitals are St. Luke’s hospitals. The Network’s flagship University Hospital has earned the 100 Top Major Teaching Hospital designation from IBM Watson Health nine times total and seven years in a row, including in 2021 when it was identified as THE #1 TEACHING HOSPITAL IN THE COUNTRY. In 2021, IBM Watson Health also named St. Luke’s among the 15 Top Health Systems nationally. Utilizing the Epic electronic medical record (EMR) system for both inpatient and outpatient services, the Network is a multi-year recipient of the Most Wired award recognizing the breadth of the SLUHN’s information technology applications such as telehealth, online scheduling and online pricing information. The Network is also recognized as one of the state’s lowest cost providers.