Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Centers deputy chief executive officer Landon Sturdivant said the facility, which has offices in Uvalde, is implementing an active fundraising campaign as well as seeking grants to help fund the project. “I’ve gotten to see it first hand, being in the military. A lot of my brothers and sisters, they spent a lot of time in Iraq and Afghanistan and they’ve come back broken. So that’s where I’ve kind of seen it from. But honestly, mental health dives into all parts of society, and if we want to tackle poverty and if we want to tackle criminal justice, and you want to tackle opportunities, all those things start with mental health.” “We are very hopeful and this is a very good sign. What we are hoping to do, we are hoping to use it for structural work,” Sturdivant said of the proposed $2 million in federal funding.
Statistics show the San Antonio State Hospital, which has less than 100 beds available for civil commitments, serves 54 counties and a population of approximately 4.5 million people. “I am most proud of the mental health clinic in Uvalde. We have a long way to go, but the lack of mental health facilities in rural communities is through the roof, they don’t exist. I mean, you have a handful of beds in Kerrville or San Antonio for basically all of South and West Texas. Something like this, it fills a need. People from all over the state are going to come to Uvalde for these much needed resources, I’m very proud of that,” Gonzales said.
Mental health is a personal passion for Gonzales, who spoke about advocating for it even while on the campaign trail. Gonzales announced last week $3.5 million in funding for health care and educational research projects within Texas’ 23rd Congressional District had been allocated in the fiscal year 2022 Labor and Health and Human Services Appropriations bill.
City manager Vince DiPiazza said the city supports the project, and has agreed to make seven acres of city property available from a tract of city-owned land on U.S. Highway 90 West just west of the Uvalde County Fairplex. DiPiazza said he city council formally took action to designate the property for donation once the project build commences, and discussions have been had about providing utilities. Sturdivant said the planned facility is then expected to cost about $10.5 million per year to operate. It would incorporate 32 adult beds and 16 youth or adolescent beds, and require about 140 people to operate. He said that number would include approximately 45 licensed professionals.
Gonzales said, and Sturdivant agrees, the project will likely cost about $25 million to complete construction. “We are very excited about bringing the dream of a psychiatric hospital in Uvalde into reality. Our appreciation of Congressman Tony Gonzales’ support for this initiative can not be overstated.”
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