Windsor Laurelwood Center for Behavioral Medicine offers help and hope to anyone in need of mental health support or substance abuse treatment

20220523 Windsor Laurelwood 5732 622
Over the past 123 years, Windsor Laurelwood Center for Behavioral Medicine has served to help people suffering from mental health issues take back control of their lives and enjoy them to the fullest. (Photograph: Felicia Vargo)

By Patricia Nugent

During Governor Mike DeWine’s State of the State address in March, he put a spotlight on the growing mental health crisis in Ohio, calling for more community-based mental health services.

Here in Lake County, there is a place of hope for those who are struggling.

Over the past 123 years, Windsor Laurelwood Center for Behavioral Medicine has served to help people suffering from mental health issues take back control of their lives and enjoy them to the fullest.

For children, adolescents and adults, the welcoming 159-bed treatment center offers three levels of treatment:

• Inpatient mental health care
• Partial hospitalization (day treatment that meets five days a week, six hours a day)
• Outpatient services (three times a week for six weeks)

Patients who are admitted to the facility usually stay for seven days, and conditions that are treated include psychiatric or emotional issues such as depression, trauma, anxiety, mood disorders, post-partum depression and bipolar behavior, as well as substance use disorders and detoxification.

People undergoing the inpatient program benefit from a multidisciplinary team that includes board-certified psychiatrists, addictionologists, therapists, registered nurses, licensed social workers at the master level and individual case managers.

“Specifically for substance use disorders, we tap into evidence-based treatments to help people through the stages of detox and withdrawal and set them on a path to success within a therapeutic and structured environment,” says Rachel Terzak, director of business development. “Once people are discharged, we ensure they are set up with appropriate resources within the community to remain healthy in the long term.”

Adjacent to Lake Health Hospital in Willoughby, from a facility standpoint, Windsor Laurelwood offers an unparalleled standard of care for its patients. (Photograph: Felicia Vargo)

Treating Children
The pandemic has not been kind to our children’s mental health and stability.

Rachel reports that over the last two years, they have seen a 200% increase of referrals for children to their facility.

“We’re admitting children as young as 6 years through adolescence suffering from anxiety, severe depression and suicidal and homicidal ideation,” she says. “Children and Adolescents have faced numerous challenges over the past two years and we are in a state of crisis for the kids in our community. Social media and cyber-bullying are also factors that tend to make things worse.”

Healing the Mind and Spirit
Within the spacious and inviting Therapy Plaza, patients can find ways to cope with their issues, through art therapy, music therapy and recreational pursuits.

“It’s wonderful to see people painting or playing musical instruments who seem to come back to life, as if the weight of the world has been lifted from their shoulders,” Rachel says.

Adjacent to Lake Health Hospital in Willoughby, from a facility standpoint, Windsor Laurelwood offers an unparalleled standard of care for its patients.

A beautifully furbished gymnasium includes a court for basketball and volleyball, a pool table and ping pong table, an adjacent exercise room loaded with the latest fitness equipment, and safe and enclosed outdoor spaces. For those patients interested in exploring the centering calm of yoga, classes are available.

“Our amazing therapists are licensed, and our social workers are all at the master level,” says Rachel.

Windsor Laurelwood’s Therapy Plaza offers a way for patients to release tension and learn coping mechanisms. Room Settings: Daniel J. Smith Photography
The unparalleled care at Windsor Laurelwood includes art and music therapy, exercise and more.

A Simple Path to Getting Help
The caring staff at Windsor Laurelwood goes out of its way to keep things simple for those who think they need help.

“Either through a quick phone call (1-800-GET-HOPE) or walk-in to our facility with private assessment rooms, the Intake process takes less than an hour,” she says. “There’s no cost and assessments can be done 24/7. Your insurance will not be billed. Concerned people can call in for a loved one they feel might be struggling. And we work closely in conjunction with the Willoughby-Eastlake Schools when it comes to children and adolescents.”

After an assessment, the professionals will advise the best-fit level of care for the individual.

“The bottom line is, if you think you have a problem, you probably have a problem,” she explains. “We can address it. So many people are overwhelmed and stressed out. We can help root out the underlying causes and give them coping mechanisms. The earlier we can treat someone, the better the outcomes for long-term stability, happiness and fulfillment.”

Forging Community Partnerships
To extend its umbrella of care for more community members, the staff at Windsor Laurelwood hosts Community Resource Fairs several times a year in conjunction with 15 other local mental health providers.

Last month they held one in the parking lot of the Northern Career Institute in Eastlake.

“Collaboration helps us reach more people in an effective way,” she says. “We were able to distribute NARCAN kits to help addicts reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. We’ve seen the number of overdoses increase dramatically the past several years, and many of these deaths are accidental. By also providing Harm Reduction Kits, we can help people detect if their drugs might be laced with other more dangerous drugs such as fentanyl.”

In the end, Rachel says that what elevates the care the most at Windsor Laurelwood is the level of passion from everyone who works here.

“When you’re helping someone who might be experiencing the lowest points of their life and know that you can lift them up from that—it’s profound,” she says.

Mental Health Myths and Red Flags
“One of the biggest myths surrounding mental health issues is that they only affect the poorer socio-economic population,” says Rachel Terzak, director of business development. “That’s not true. Many of our patients are wealthy and come from all walks of life.”

She also reports that the overall stigma of mental health has lessened over the years, and that people are more open and accepting of those who seek help.

“Millennials and Gen X-ers realize that mental health should be on the same level as physical health,” she says. “Things like substance abuse should be viewed as a disease, one from which recovery is possible with help.”

For people who might be suicidal, Rachel says there are several red flags to watch for, including a history of mental illness, depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety.

“Chronic pain and having a traumatic brain injury can also put people at higher risk for suicide,” she says. “Other red flag factors include suffering from childhood abuse or painful life events, a cancer diagnosis and access to weapons such as handguns.”

Telehealth Service
Like many organizations, the ingenious staff at Windsor Laurelwood was forced to pivot during the pandemic to offer the best level of care to the people it serves. Telehealth service is one of the innovations to come from that.

Rachel Terzak, director of business development, reports that people can be treated on an outpatient basis with sessions via their phone or tablet.

“Telehealth is a perfect fit for those who are concerned with anonymity, as people can simply turn off their camera during sessions while still receiving the counseling they need,” she says.

Levels of telehealth services range from a call or video visit with a doctor or nurse, an individual behavioral health video session with a therapist, and group behavioral health video sessions.

“We can help people with things like medication management, nutrition and coping mechanisms,” Rachel says. “Over the past year, we’ve really perfected this in-demand level of care.”

Certified by the Joint Commission and Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction services, Windsor Laurelwood is located adjacent to Lake Health Hospital, at 35900 Euclid Avenue in Willoughby. The hospital accepts most public and private insurance plans, and self-pay options are available. The staff has also received extensive sensitivity training and certification to treat those within the LGBTQ+ community. Call 1-800-GET-HOPE (1-800-438-4673) or visit for more information.