Behavioral Health Services

The behavioral health unit located at UK HealthCare Good Samaritan Hospital is an inpatient psychiatric unit embedded within the larger UK HealthCare system that provides behavioral health care and treatment and services to both adolescents and adults. The GSH BHU is an acute-care setting, meaning that the patients who are admitted require treatment for a mental illness but are treated for a relatively short period of time – days rather than months. The staff on both units strive to provide leading-edge mental health care while advancing professional practice. 

Adolescent unit

The Pediatric Behavioral Health Unit is now located at Kentucky Children’s Hospital. The new space features semi-private rooms and one private room specifically designed for the care of pediatric patients. Patients who are 17 or under with behavioral health emergencies should be sent for evaluation to the Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Department at UK Chandler Hospital.

Adult unit

The 19-bed adult unit treats and provides services to adults diagnosed with a wide array of psychiatric-mental health diagnoses, including but not limited to anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and personality and thought disorders, as well as substance use disorder. One way that the GSH BHU stands apart from other inpatient psychiatric facilities is that providers and staff are able to treat opiate-addicted, pregnant women and offer electroconvulsive therapy.


Nursing and support staff who work on the BHU have special certification requirements:

  • BLS
  • Crisis Prevention Intervention
  • Suicide Assessment & Prevention

Special programs

Behavioral health at UK HealthCare and Eastern State Hospital has unique internship and individualized orientation programs for new graduates and experienced RNs.

BSN-prepared nurses who have an interest in behavioral health can apply for the UK HealthCare Behavioral Health Internship. This opportunity allows interns to spend eight weeks with a preceptor at GSH and eight weeks with a preceptor at ESH. Upon completion of the program, interns may select from job opportunities at either GSH or ESH. Two applicants are selected each year.

Student Nurse Academic Program students can choose to work with adolescent or adult populations at GSH, as well as adult populations at ESH.

Eastern State Hospital

Eastern State Hospital provides recovery-focused, individualized inpatient acute-care mental health services. ESH, located off Newtown Pike in Lexington, is one of four state psychiatric hospitals in Kentucky. Opening in 1824, ESH is the second oldest, continuously operating psychiatric facility in the country. ESH and UK HealthCare are separate entities. ESH is state-owned but is managed by UK HealthCare through a contract with the Kentucky Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. UK HealthCare and ESH work in collaboration on education, orientation and other shared initiatives and concerns to support both patient and staff needs. 

ESH treats and provides acute psychiatric care for adults (age 18 and over) with severe and persistent mental illness who live in the 50 counties surrounding and including Fayette County, Kentucky. Patients may be diagnosed with a wide array of psychiatric-mental health diagnoses, including but not limited to anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders and thought disorders.

Our staff promotes an individual’s recovery, wellness and transition back into the community. Individuals are evaluated in our admissions department, and those who meet the legal criteria for hospitalization are admitted.

Central Kentucky Recovery Center

Located on the ESH campus, Central Kentucky Recovery Center consists of personal care homes for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness. The homes offer less restrictive care that promotes residents’ return to a community setting.

Recovery-based programming

Recovery Mall

At ESH, programs and classes are offered on the units as well as in our Recovery Mall, located on both the first and second floors of the hospital. The Recovery Mall is the hospital’s recovery and rehabilitation program. It’s an exciting, cheerful area designed to help people change, grow and recover from the effects of mental illness and substance misuse. We also offer both music and art therapies that use hands-on experiences and therapist interaction to improve mental, social, emotional and spiritual wellness.

On-unit groups

At ESH and CKRC, interdisciplinary on-unit groups are provided multiple times per day, six to seven days per week.