Dublin VA breaks ground on new mental health clinic

“22 veterans a day commit suicide. That’s 8,000 a year that we lose to suicide. Many of them because of mental health problems.”

DUBLIN, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Veterans suffering from mental health disorders will soon have a new place for therapy.

The Carl Vinson VA Medical Center is building a new structure to serve thousands of vets.

“It brings all of our outpatient mental health services together into a single, state-of-the-art healing environment for some of our most vulnerable veterans,” Maryalice Morro, the center’s director, said minutes after a ceremonial dirt toss.

She’s bringing changes and expansion to the medical center.

“Some of these men and women have been deployed two, three, four, five times ongoing,” she said.i

She, along with U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, announced plans for a 23,000 square foot facility catered to help veterans with mental health issues.

“The traumatic brain injuries and the repercussions of that in the mental health and how it ties together with their other conditions brings it all together and it’s just created a much greater demand,” she said.

“22 veterans a day commit suicide. That’s 8,000 a year that we lose to suicide. Many of them because of mental health problems. That alone makes it my mission in life as chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee to see to it that we provide the very best mental health services to our veterans nationwide,” Sen. Isakson said, referring to statistics from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The $8 million facility will have one-on-one, family, and group classes to help cope with the disorders.

It’s a need people like Marion Owens wants. The 20-year Navy vet suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

“We got veterans on a waiting list trying to get into PTSD programs and so that will help us expand it and bring more into it and help more veterans,” he said.

Morro says the clinic is meeting a growing need and she wants to help stop the problem.

“We’re really trying to get in front of it and be able to have enough space to take care of them should the need arise,” she said.

The Dublin VA serves about 10,000 veterans suffering from mental health disorders.

The mental health building is scheduled to completed by the end of 2017.