Birmingham VA Medical Center to open new mental health clinic


WVTM 13’S MARY O’CONNELL
EXPLAINS THE NEED FOR THE NEW
BUILDING.>>THE FIRST STEP IN MENTAL
WELLNESS IS ACTUALLY TALKING
ABOUT WHAT’S GOING ON. MARY: THAT’S THE GOAL WITH A NEW
MENTAL HEALTH CLINIC COMING TO
BIRMINGHAM. AS A VETERAN HERSELF, BIRMINGHAM
V.A. MEDICAL CENTER DIRECTOR
STACY VASQUEZ KNOWS THE NEED FOR
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCES.>>WHEN WE FIRST LEAVE THE
SERVICE, WE CAN KIND OF SHOVE
THE ISSUES DOWN A LITTLE BIT,
BUT OVER TIME THEY START TO COME
TO THE TOP.>>OF VETERANS, ABOUT 16 A DAY
DIE FROM SUICIDE. MARY: THE NEW $14 MILLION
PROJECT WILL OFFER SUICIDE
PREVENTION, THERAPY SERVICES,
AND NEW RESOURCES THAT WEREN’T
AVAILABLE BEFORE DUE TO LACK OF
SPACE. AN EFFORT TO TREAT THE
OFTEN-UNSEEN WOUNDS OF A
VETERAN’S SERVICE.>>MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ARE VERY
CRIPPLING AND DISABLING. THEY CAUSE MORE DISABILITY THAN
PHYSICAL CONDITIONS, AND PEOPLE
OFTEN DON’T GIVE IT THE
ATTENTION IT NEEDS. MARY: THE NEW FACILITY WILL BE
ABLE TO SERVE ABOUT 25,000
PEOPLE, WITH ALL THE MENTAL
HEALTH SERVICES DOWNTOWN MOVING
TO THAT FACILITY
VASQUEZ HOPES CONSTRUCTION GETS UNDERWAY BY THE START OF THE
YEAR AND BE OPEN BY FALL 2021.>>I THINK THAT PEOPLE ARE GOING
TO WANT TO GO THERE TO SEE WHAT
IT LOOKS LIKE. MARY: ADVOCATES HOPING A NEW
BUILDING WILL MEAN NEW PATIENTS,
— PATIENTS.

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