VA Ready to Create New Mental Health Building

VA Ready to Create New Mental Health Building Click to Enlarge Photo:

Apr 25, 2013 at 3:18 pm

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - A beautiful day for hard hats and gold-plated shovels, as the St. Cloud VA Health Care System celebrated the groundbreaking of their new Mental Health building.

The facility aims to increase their space and add more than 20 beds to the secure treatment center for veterans' mental health concerns.

Veterans, their family members, VA staff members and representatives for Minnesota lawmakers were on hand for the celebration, including the VA's Mental Health Services Director, Dr. Sherrie Herendeen.

Herendeen says the facility is designed to grow and change with regard to the VA's needs in years to come.

"It's a kind-of domino construction plan, moving many years ahead," Herendeen says. "We're going to move our 15-bed unit and then reconfigure our space from there. We'll definitely utilize the space in different ways, depending on need, in the future." 

Herendeen says the need for an expanded facility is strong; in the past seven years, the VA has seen a 54% rise in mental health patients treated, and a 69% increase in staff. 

"The VA has been dedicated to improving mental health services, especially since 2005," Herendeen says. "The state has a rich history for the treatment of veteran mental health, and we've been the lucky recipients of much of that inhanced care."

The facility is expected to open in 18 to 24 months.

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