Uvalde to get $34 million behavioral health campus

UVALDE, Texas – A $34 million behavioral health campus that will provide on-site care to children and adults experiencing mental health crises will be built in Uvalde, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Monday.

Construction for the campus is expected to begin this summer and it is scheduled to open in summer 2025. Funding for the project was approved during the 88th Legislative Session by Abbott, who signed House Bill 1 and Senate Bill 30 into law. The law also provides an additional $5 million for the facility’s first year of operation to support critical services to those in need.

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The new behavioral health care campus will feature a 16-bed crisis unit for adults, including 10 crisis residential beds and six extended observation unit (EOU) beds. A dedicated youth wing will feature a 16-bed crisis unit for children and adolescents, including 12 crisis residential beds and four EOU beds.

The facility, which will serve a 32-county area, will focus on providing crisis stabilization to individuals experiencing a mental health crisis and act as a designated 24/7 diversion center, accepting walk-ins and drop-offs from law enforcement. A second building will consist of various outpatient programs.

“Our communities—urban and rural—are stronger when Texans are safe and healthy, and the State of Texas continues working to expand access to critical mental health resources to ensure Texans in every community get the support they need,” Abbott said in a statement.

Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Centers will operate the campus through a contract with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission and is overseeing construction. The city of Uvalde is donating seven acres at U.S. 90 and King Fisher Lane to host the campus, which will have two buildings totaling approximately 50,000 square feet.

“Providing mental health services to rural areas is a priority to Texas, and we’re grateful to Governor Abbott and the Legislature for supporting this campus,” said Texas Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Cecile Erwin Young.

In June 2022, the Texas Tribune reported Uvalde was a mental health desert before the Robb Elementary School shooting that claimed the lives of 19 students and two teachers. The school shooting in May 2022 prompted Texas to bring in more assistance to the community.

Following the tragedy, the Ecumenical Center, a trauma-informed organization, provided the Uvalde community with specialized counselors at the Uvalde Together Resiliency Center. Last December, at Uvalde County District Attorney Christina Mitchell’s recommendation, county leaders voted not to renew the organization’s contract past April 2024 and instead rely on local providers.

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