Mental Health Facility

More and more East Texans are dealing with mental health crises. That's why officials from the Burke Center have applied for a state grant to build a new mental health facility in Angelina County.

Angelina County Judge Wes Suiter said, "Currently with people experiencing mental health crisis, we may have to take them to Rusk, which is our closest facility. Sometimes we may even have to take them as far away as El Paso."

Burke Center CEO Susan Rushing told us, "We have an issue of patients burdening local hospital emergency rooms and sometimes ending up in jail because there's no other place for them to go for treatment."

The Department of State Health Services plans to build five or six of the proposed facilities throughout Texas. That means Angelina County will be competing with other areas of the state for the funds. The proposed facility would serve all 12 counties in Deep East Texas.

"The state now has some money available that we can compete for. They're willing to put up 75 percent of the operating cost if we put up 25 percent," Rushing said.

The overall cost of the facility is expected to be about 2 million dollars. Suiter believes that's a small price to pay.

"We're trying to get something locally because at some point in time it's more than just an economic statue or a dollar figure. It's about the quality of life for the people who live in our communities," Suiter said.

"It's great to have the local support. We've got to get the state on board. These are competitive grants. I feel we'll be able to make a very compelling case," Rushing said.

The Texas Department of State Health services will announce whether or not Angelina County will receive funding for the facility in early April.