Lehigh Valley, Pa.,
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Allentown Man’s Multiple Brushes with Suicide Emphasize Importance of Behavioral Health Services

Patient’s story among highlights of LVHN’s Community Annual Meeting

Mark Landy, 56, of Allentown still feels the impact from 40 years ago when he was just 16 and had to identify the body of his sister who was killed in a car crash by a drunk driver.

Landy says he experienced a lot of death in his life and had trouble coping, which led to drinking and drugs to escape reality.

During a video presentation at Lehigh Valley Health Network’s (LVHN) community annual meeting this evening, Landy said he never felt happy. As a result, he tried to commit suicide five times. The last time he contemplated doing so was about a year ago when he was going to jump off the Eighth Street Bridge in Allentown.

When police officers saw him on the bridge, he ran and went to the ER at Lehigh Valley Hospital (LVH)-17th Street and told caregivers he was thinking about hurting himself. Landy received inpatient care at the Behavioral Health Science Center at LVH-Muhlenberg, and at Alternatives, LVH-Muhlenberg’s outpatient program. He currently lives and receives care in the health network’s Transitional Living Center. He worked in construction all his life and is currently studying to become a certified building inspector.

From multiple suicide attempts, Landy now is a peer mentor. He talks with people who are battling a behavioral health condition. “You have to help them understand that you were there,” Landy says. “By that, they can relax and open up.”

Brian A. Nester, DO, MBA, FACOEP, LVHN’s president and chief executive officer, shared Landy’s story to stress how a community’s health is only as good as the health of its most vulnerable people and that investments must be made to care for them, including behavioral health.

Nester told the audience of about 200 behavioral health services are among the most pressing needs identified in the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) for the Lehigh Valley and Hazleton regions as required by the Affordable Care Act.

“While health care providers nationwide are closing behavioral health facilities and discontinuing services, LVHN continues to operate one of the outstanding behavioral health programs in the nation.”

Nester cited LVHN’s Behavioral Health Science Center at LVH-Muhlenberg, which provides inpatient care for adults and children; the network’s partial hospitalization programs for providing care and allowing patients to return home daily; behavioral health group practices and clinics; and the Transitional Living Center, where Landy receives care, that assists people with positive lifestyle changes through support, supervision and instruction in the recovery of daily living skills. LVHN treated more than 20,000 behavioral health patients in approximately 120,000 visits in a recent 12-month period.

As behavioral health care needs continue to grow and services in some communities are being reduced or eliminated, many other community needs also require attention. LVHN helped to address those needs as more than 80,000 people were cared for under the health network’s Reduced Cost-of-Care program over the past five years. Just last month, LVHN provided more than 10,000 free flu shots to the community to prevent the spread of influenza this season. Since 2009, more

About LVHN

Lehigh Valley Health Network includes eight hospital campuses - three in Allentown including the region's only facility dedicated to orthopedic surgery, one in Bethlehem, one in East Stroudsburg, one in Hazleton and two in Pottsville, Pa.; 26 health centers caring for communities in seven counties; numerous primary and specialty care physician practices and 18 ExpressCARE locations throughout the region including the area’s only Children’s ExpressCARE at the Health Center at Palmer Township; pharmacy, imaging, home health services and lab services; extensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services; and preferred provider services through Valley Preferred. Specialty care includes: trauma care at the region’s busiest, most-experienced trauma center treating adults and children, burn care at the regional Burn Center, kidney and pancreas transplants; perinatal/neonatal, cardiac, cancer care, orthopedics, and neurology and complex neurosurgery capabilities including national certification as a Comprehensive Stroke Center. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute, the Lehigh Valley Heart Institute and the Lehigh Valley Institute for Special Surgery give clinicians of the highest caliber the necessary infrastructure, programs and partnerships to help community members stay healthy and provide the most advanced treatment when needed. The Lehigh Valley Cancer Institute is a formal member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Alliance, a transformative initiative to improve the quality of care and outcomes for people with cancer in community health care settings, including access to key MSK clinical trials. Robotic surgery is offered in ten specialties across the health network with more than 10,000 procedures performed since 2007. Lehigh Valley Children’s Hospital, the only children’s hospital and Level 4 NICU in the region, provides care in more than 30 specialties and general pediatrics. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest has been recognized among the top five hospitals in Pennsylvania by U.S. News & World Report for for five consecutive years. Lehigh Valley Hospital–Cedar Crest, Lehigh Valley Hospital–17th Street and Lehigh Valley Hospital–Muhlenberg are national Magnet hospitals for excellence in nursing. Additional information is available by visiting LVHN.org, or following us on Facebook and Twitter.