$44.7 million in state funding will be going to the development of a new state psychiatric hospital in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas. This region has been lacking a hospital of this kind for some time now. There are currently 10 state-managed psychiatric hospitals throughout the state. The Texas Health and Human Services Commission and the University of Texas Southewestern Medical Center are in charge of the planning and development.
The Texas legislature has a history of consistently funding state hospitals. Since 2017, it has allocated over $1 billion in funds for the replacement, renovation or expansion of its hospitals across the state. $276 million for the construction and restoration of hospitals in Austin and San Antonio was allocated in 2021 alone, according to Texas Health and Human Services. State projections show that at least 1,100 new beds will be needed in the psychiatric hospital system over the next 10 years.
Texas is looking towards the future amidst mental healthcare facility closings across the country. Virginia recently shut down several of its state mental healthcare facilities indefinitely due to short staffing. The state felt it couldn’t adequately provide the proper service to the rising number of patients at its hospitals.
Thirty National Guard personnel had to be deployed in an Oregon state psychiatric hospital due to staff shortages. This recent move is a part of the crisis staffing plan for the hospital. The facility cares for around 500 state residents with severe mental illnesses. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, it has struggled to sustain a sufficient level of staffing with a number of workforce members out for coronavirus-related leave.
The Bay Area in California is also experiencing a shortage in mental health professionals. Cost of living and lack of access to telehealth is pushing therapists and psychiatrists out of the area, according to ABC News.
The Texas Health and Human Services department sees the pressing need to address mental healthcare staffing shortages and that the state’s investment is a big first step in achieving adequate staffing levels.