Southcoast Behavioral Health opened a 24-bed unit on Friday that will provide inpatient treatment for adolescents between the ages of 13-17.

Kevin Burchill, CEO of Southcoast Behavioral Health, told WBSM news that this facility will provide mental health services to a group that is underserved in this region.

"Adolescent services are really lacking here in the Southcoast area," said Burchill "if you look around at psychiatric, freestanding behavioral health hospitals in the community, the nearest programs are all the way over in Pembroke or South Attleboro."

Burchill says local hospitals such as Tobey Hospital in Wareham, St. Luke's Hospital in New Bedford, and Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River see a large amount of patients who require mental health services.

"Psychiatric substance abuse, behavioral health needs continue to grow as a part of the overall med search model that's out in the community," said Burchill.

By having the new unit located at 581 Faunce Corner Rd. in North Dartmouth Burchill says families will be able to find the necessary treatment close to home.

"What Southcoast Behavioral Health is able to do on our inpatient 24-bed unit is to keep the patients, and their families, and their caregivers in the local community and provide high quality comprehensive service," said Burchill.

Burchill says they also plan to open an outpatient treatment center in Jan. 2017 pending approval by the Department of Public Health’s Bureau of Substance Abuse Services.