BARRIE, ONT. -- The provincial government is providing over $6.5 million to support mental health in York Region and Simcoe County.

The money will be used to more than double the number of mental health beds and add additional support spaces in Southlake Regional Health Centre's Adult Inpatient Mental Health Unit.

Ontario said the investment would help to better address the demand for mental health supports and services for adults in the region.

"This investment from the provincial government will help enable us to add 12 beds to our Inpatient Adult Mental Health Unit, which will include modern private rooms and welcoming common areas. Better spaces promote better healing," said president & CEO of Southlake Regional Health Centre, Arden Krystal.

According to the province's news release, 17 patients experiencing a mental health crisis visit the Newmarket hospital each day.

The expansion will allow the hospital to care for more than 400 additional patients annually.

The existing inpatient program will continue to offer services and supports while work is underway on the expansion.

The new adult inpatient unit is anticipated to be completed in late 2022.