Medical Services

Behavorial Health/Psychiatry

Our providers:

Gabriela Cherascu, MD, Medical Director

Darbie LIttle-Cooper, MD

Robin Kopelman, MD

Martin Carpenter, MD

Ben Jaggers, ARNP

Susan Meyer, DNP, ARNP

Margaret Butler, ARNP

Jason Wilson, ARNP
Mercy's inpatient psychiatric unit integrates evidence-based medicine, and a humane philosophy of care for the holistic treatment of mind, body, and spirit. It specializes in the care of patients needing short-term hospitalization for extreme mental distress.

Our inpatient psychiatric unit, 4 North, is:
  • A safe space for voluntary patients. The unit is secured with restricted access to outsiders for the comfort and privacy of our patients.
  • A healing space, where experienced clinicians assess each patient individually and customize an interdisciplinary treatment plan.
  • A caring space, where we strengthen patients’ relationships of care and provide resources to help our community improve mental health services.

Our psychiatrists and psychiatric Advanced Care Practitioners (ACPs) are all board-certified, have many years of experience in adult psychiatric care and bring specialty training in such fields as:

  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Psychosomatic medicine  
  • Spirituality
  • Cultural issues
  • Professional and student wellness

We do not accept involuntary patients or those requiring acute detoxification.

Our Treatment Program
Our program integrates traditional modalities of psychotherapy and medication management. We teach coping skills and techniques which include mindfulness, meditation and yoga. Psychological education is provided to all patients and their families.

In our light-filled space, we enjoy activities that include art, music, or guided imagery to encourage gentle self-awareness. Individual consultation with our many specialists occurs throughout the day. This includes nutritionists, occupational therapists, chaplains, psychiatric nursing staff, and social workers--who particularly help prepare for smooth transitions back to the community.

In addition, medical hospitalists are in-house 24/7 to assist in co-managing acute medical conditions.

Visiting hours are until 8 p.m. daily. Guest lodging is available on 3 Mercy North for family members that want to stay near their loved one.

Consultation Liaison Psychiatry
Our psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses are available to provide specialty consultations to Mercy's patients during their hospitalizations for medical, surgical and/or obstetrical treatments. The most common reasons that the medical team requests a psychiatric consultation include:

  • Patients may have an existing psychiatric illness that requires specialty care while they are receiving medical-surgical treatments.
  • The medical-surgical problem may be causing new psychiatric symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, or confusional states.
  • Patients and their families are struggling to cope with the stress of the medical problems or treatments while in the hospital and would benefit from additional emotional support.

Our psychiatric nurses are frequently called to provide supportive counseling for patients who are struggling to manage the stress of illness, and our psychiatrists are available every day for specialty evaluations. We are very proud to work alongside all of Mercy's doctors and medical staff to support the emotional health of our patients, no matter what health concern brings them to our hospital.

Psychiatric Access Nurse Program
The psychiatric access nurse program began in the spring of 2010. These experienced mental health professionals see patients throughout the hospital who may have a history of a mental health diagnosis, or may be experiencing a life crisis that is causing them distress. They serve as a resource to other staff in the hospital, provide education to patients and staff, and are available for consultation as needed.

Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists are an important part of the health care team. They focus on function, performance, and living a balanced life, involving self-care, work, and leisure. This balance of life helps patients and their families:

  • increase independence in their life roles
  • make changes to the environment 
  • support their highest level of independence

Occupational therapists working in mental health settings are uniquely trained to analyze everyday activities and occupations, help or assist the person to set their goals, and provide therapeutic interventions to help meet their personalized goals.

Outpatient Clinic:
Mercy Behavioral Health Clinic
1067 Ryan Ct.
Iowa City, IA 52246
Phone: 319-688-7024

Endowment Fund
The Mercy Hospital Foundation has created an endowment fund to support mental health care at Mercy. Please consider supporting Mercy's compassionate and comprehensive mental health care programming in our community by contacting the Mercy Hospital Foundation at 319-339-3657. There are many opportunities and ways to partner with us.

For a referral to our program, please speak with your doctor or call Mercy On Call 24/7: 319-358-2767 or toll-free 1-800-358-2767.

Local Mental Health Resources | Mental Health Resources

National Alliance for the Mentally Ill