Resources and Support

No matter what life hands you, when the going gets tough, you can find information to help you cope.

Browse Our Behavioral Health Library

Mental Health: Finding the Help You Need

When your life spins out of control, asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

What You Need to Know About Mental Illness

Understanding that mental illness isn’t a weakness or character defect helps people seek help and proper treatment.

When to Seek Help for Your Mental Health

If you have any of the symptoms of mental illness, call your health care provider or a mental health professional.

Substance Abuse / Chemical Dependency

Substance abuse, a medical brain disorder, refers to the abuse of illegal or legal substances. Alcohol is the most common legal drug of abuse.


People with depression cannot merely "pull themselves together" and get better. Appropriate treatment, however, can help most people who suffer from depression.


A phobia is an uncontrollable, irrational, and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity. One extreme response to the source of a phobia can be a panic attack.

About Riverside Behavioral Center

Riverside Behavioral Center has maintained a distinguished place in the Southwest Florida behavioral healthcare field since opening its doors in 1984.

Located on the campus of acute-care, award-winning Bayfront Health Punta Gorda in historic downtown Punta Gorda, Florida, this private psychiatric center continues the tradition of excellent patient care and community commitment as we move into the future.

Established with the mission to serve the surrounding community, we care for patients with the most challenging of illnesses. Riverside Behavioral Center provides inpatient psychiatric hospitalization with a broad and comprehensive range of treatment options at our 52-bed adult facility. We have a long record of success in treating especially difficult clinical presentations.

Conveniently located

  • Arcadia – 25 miles
  • Bradenton – 66 miles
  • Cape Coral – 30 miles
  • Englewood – 25 miles
  • Fort Myers – 24 miles
  • Lehigh Acres – 41 miles
  • Naples – 66 miles
  • Port Charlotte – 5 miles
  • Sarasota – 54 miles
  • Sebring – 70 miles
  • St. Petersburg – 89 miles
  • Venice – 30 miles

For immediate emergencies, please call 911. Riverside Behavioral Center can be contacted 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (941) 637-2474.

Services & Programs

Psychiatric Specialty Areas

  • Baker Act Receiving Facility (Florida Mental Health Act, Chapter 394, Part I, Florida Statutes)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Memory disorders
  • Brain disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Services and Clinical Programs

  • Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week
  • Free confidential evaluations by master’s level qualified staff
  • Semi-private rooms
  • Medical monitoring and assessment
  • Individual, family and group psychotherapies
  • Activity therapies
  • Social
  • Creative
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Musical
  • Discharge planning

Treatment Units

Geriatric Treatment Unit

The Riverside Behavioral Center Geriatric Treatment Unit specializes in the treatment of medically complicated elderly patients with severe affective and neuropsychiatric disorders. Psychiatrists, nurses and social workers who are experts in the care of the psychiatrically ill elderly comprise the staff of the Geriatric Treatment Unit.

Patients are typically people that other inpatient and outpatient treatment modalities have failed or who have complicating medical conditions that cannot be managed in other psychiatric programs. The most common disorders treated are all forms of dementias, depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Patients with neurological conditions complicated by psychiatric symptoms are also candidates for treatment on this unit.

General Adult Treatment Unit

The Riverside Behavioral Center General Adult Treatment Unit provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary assessments and short-term treatment of the full spectrum of acute adult psychiatric disorders. We work closely with numerous mental health and social service agencies and private care providers to meet the medical and social support needs of patients returning to the community. The treatment team is comprised of the attending psychiatrist, psychiatric social workers/therapists, nurses and technicians. The entire treatment team works closely with families, care providers and outpatient programs involved in the patient’s longitudinal care.

Admitting Procedures

To arrange admission of a patient to Riverside Behavioral Center, either the patient, the person currently treating the patient, a caregiver or a member of the patient’s family should contact Riverside Behavioral Center as soon as possible. The Intake Department will request that current clinical information about the patient’s condition be provided for review before admission arrangements are made. This information will help determine which services are most suitable for the patient.

It is essential for the Intake Department to have all necessary information in order to contact the patient’s insurance provider. The insurance company will then determine the extent to which the patient’s policy covers the admission. Riverside Behavioral Center currently accepts most commercial insurance, Medicare Part A, Medicare Part B, Medicare HMO and Medicaid. We do not accept Medicaid HMO at this time. Every effort is made to make this process as seamless as possible for the patient.


Patients who are being admitted, including those who are voluntarily seeking treatment, should report to the Riverside Behavioral Center Intake Department at 733 East Olympia Avenue in Punta Gorda, Florida. The patient will sign admission papers and review other documents that will be explained by the intake coordinator. The patient and family will then be escorted to an inpatient unit. There, a nurse will welcome them and, if appropriate, provide a tour of the unit.

Medical and psychiatric histories will be taken and the patient will be examined. It is important for the patient to tell the physicians and nurses about any medical problems, including allergies to medications. A nurse will do an assessment so the nursing staff can plan for its part in the patient’s care. A social worker or therapist may also meet with the patient’s family to assess the patient’s social supports.

Note: This is a general description of what transpires on the day of a psychiatric admission. The process may differ depending on individual patient need.

Caring for patients with the most challenging illnesses.

Not all medical conditions are physical. For mental issues, Riverside Behavioral Center provides inpatient psychiatric hospitalization with a full range of treatment options. Our 52-bed adult facility features psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, therapists, nurses and psychiatric technicians who treat the whole person—all toward the goal of patient stability. Riverside Behavioral Center has earned The Joint Commission’s Seal of Approval for following the strict guidelines and standards of the nation’s leading healthcare accreditation organization.

Psychiatric specialties:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
  • Geriatric psychiatry
  • Memory disorders
  • Brain disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Schizophrenia

Behavioral health care is available at Bayfront Health Punta Gorda.


Patient Focus

Patients are admitted to either the Geriatric Treatment Unit or the General Adult Treatment Unit to receive individualized care from expert clinical teams. These teams are led by psychiatrists working with professional psychologists, social workers, therapists, nurses and psychiatric technicians focused on the patient’s recovery in a pleasant environment conducive to healing.

The ability to provide excellent care to our patients—who often have highly complex illnesses—is possible only with the quality of service and commitment to care of our entire clinical team. Our core of specialized psychiatric nurses, therapists, technicians and social workers is vital to around-the-clock treatment of the whole person as they strive for stability.

Contact Us
Riverside Behavioral Center
733 E. Olympia Ave. Punta Gorda, FL 33950
(941) 637-2474