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CareSTL Health plans to offer alternatives to opioids, housing in the Greater Ville

CareSTL Health
CareSTL Health plans to open the Ville Wellness Campus next year. It will include physical, behavioral and occupational therapy services. Also, the $25 million center will house 120 affordable living units for north St. Louis residents. Housing units will open in February 2023, and the clinic will open in August 2023.

CareSTL Health plans to open a health care clinic and provide low-income and senior housing for residents of the Greater Ville neighborhood.

The $25 million Ville Wellness Campus, to open next year, will focus on physical, occupational and behavioral health therapy. Clinic administrators say the therapies will help decrease opioid abuse and overdoses in north St. Louis.

People in the area are suffering from many health conditions and need physical and mental care, said Angela Clabon, CEO of CareSTL Health.

“[We're] creating a place where the whole community learns how to be well. And that means having a place to be safe, that means having health care, that means dealing with social determinants, housing, all those things.”

The center will sit at the corner of St. Louis Avenue and North Newstead Avenue. It will include a drive-thru pharmacy, chiropractic and behavioral health services, a community center, auditorium, on-site park and walking trail, a commercial kitchen and training rooms.

The 45,000-square-foot building also will house the clinic’s administration offices. Clabon plans to develop 120 senior and low-income housing units for residents in the area who are in need of affordable housing.

CareSTL Health
CareSTL Health CEO Angela Clabon stands in early May on the site of the new Ville Wellness campus. She said the center will help keep people in the community from traveling out of the neighborhood to receive specialized health care services.

CareSTL Health plans to collaborate with Washington University Medical Center and Christian Hospital to offer occupational, behavioral and physical therapy to residents in the area.

Clabon said physical therapy and chiropractic care can serve as alternatives to medications and help decrease the number of opioid overdoses in north St. Louis.

“When persons have to medicate for pain meds versus dealing with the issue, then that will lead to a hard drug choice,” Clabon said. “Our focus is to really fight the opioid epidemic … by bringing pain management services to our community.”

Clabon also plans to make more behavioral health services available to residents by increasing the number of therapeutic professionals in the area, which she hopes will encourage the people in the predominantly Black community to seek counseling for pain or grief instead of dealing with it in silence.

Black people in the area often try to cope without mental health therapy, said Summer Johnson, CareSTL Health’s director of behavioral health.

“I know that I see a number of behaviors happening within the community, whether it be shootings, whether it be people feeling down on themselves, where they're just not feeling like they can be someone,” she said. “We’re just kind of planting a seed in the environment to let them know, ‘Yes, you absolutely can overcome what it is that you are currently experiencing.’ ”

Johnson said by coupling physical or occupational therapy with behavioral therapy can help people recover from emotional and physical trauma that may have been related to gun violence or an accident.

“If we all get together and work together to treat the person that sets that person up to be more successful,” Johnson said.

Clabon plans to keep the clinic’s Whitter location, which is a few blocks northwest of the new campus, and use it for senior day care services or an expanded behavioral health care clinic.

The wellness campus is expected to create 53 jobs and will offer 24-hour security.

“We want to be able to help them to change their lifestyles, look at their lives differently, look at prolonging their lives, so that they have just as much of a chance as being well as maybe the same patient located in west county might have,” Johnson said.

Follow Andrea on Twitter: @drebjournalist

Andrea covers race, identity & culture at St. Louis Public Radio.

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