Governor Robert Bentley said Wednesday that years of cutting back on mental healthcare in Alabama are over.
Bentley toured the new $81 million Bryce Hospital in Tuscaloosa, which will begin taking patients in June. It is located on the former Partlow campus on University Boulevard.
"Patients who have mental illness, they have special needs. And I think every room has been designed that way. Every ward has been designed that way," Bentley said.
The hospital will provide care for 268 beds. Mental health officials say that some patients will share room. The goal is to treat patients at Bryce so they can transition to a group home in or close to their home community.
"Contrary to the public opinion, there are very few patients that need to be in the state hospitals for the rest of their lives," Reddoch said.
Reddoch believed improved medication and mental health treatment makes lifelong hospitalization less necessary.
Bentley feels most patients will have a better quality of life outside a hospital setting.
"We don't want to make cuts to mental health. We want to increase mental health. We want to increase our community-based programs so that people can be closer to home and be treated closer to home," Bentley said.
The State Department of Mental Health will transfer patients from the old Bryce Hospital to the new facility June 24.
The facilities include clinical therapy areas, classrooms, a gymnasium, cafeteria, library, chapel, barber shop, post office, recreation and fitness center, arts and crafts room, and vocational area.
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