New Mental Health Center

New Mental Health Center


♪ MUSIC ♪ An idea conceived nearly two
decades ago became a realization as the Bay Pines VA activated
its new 155,000 square foot Mental Health Center during a
ribbon cutting ceremony at the C.W. Bill Young VA Medical
Center on September 22. A crowd of nearly 600 gathered
to watch the monumental event and listened as leaders
spoke to importance of the new facility and the positive
impact it will make in the lives of thousands of Veterans
in southwest Florida. Featured speakers at
the event included Bay Pines VAHCS Director
Suzanne Klinker; Acting VISN 8 Network Director
Timothy Liezert; U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist; and VA’s Acting Principal Deputy
Undersecretary for Health, Dr. Miguel Lapuz, who also
served as the keynote speaker. While the state-of-the-art
building is physically located on campus,
Veterans across southwest Florida will have expanded
access to the highest quality, patient centered, and mental
health care through in-person services, as well as though
telemental health. Following the formal
portion of the ceremony, leaders and spectators
assembled inside the new building to sign
a declaration of commitment to suicide prevention as part of
VA’s #BeThere campaign, and then toured the facility. Activation
of the new center is an example of VA’s commitment to
modernizing health care delivery, and is a major
accomplishment for the more than 108,000
Veterans who seek care from the healthcare
system each year. This has been a great day
for the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System at the C.W. Bill Young VA
Medical Center where we have introduced to Veterans, our
staff, and stakeholders the Mental Health Center. Which will
provide for decades to come outpatient, inpatient, and
residential care for America’s heroes. You know one of the
things that I especially enjoyed highlighting today is our
responsibility towards suicide prevention that all of us have
and the campaign on Twitter of #BeThere and the Veterans Crisis
Line. Pat Frederick, our suicide prevention coordinator, works
with Veterans day in and day out to meet their needs and
facilitate their safety. So just very happy to be here and be
part of today’s celebration. Chief of Staff Dr. Dominique
Thuriere, who has spent the last 27 years of her career at Bay
Pines, played a vital role in bringing the new center to life. When the opportunity
presented itself for a design for this building,
I was really excited to be able to think about what
worked best and what environment would be the most suitable for
healing for Veterans. So we started thinking about the fact
that Veterans were being cared for in a building separate from
the main hospital building and all the challenges that were
presented with trying to get an x-ray, trying to get a lab,
having to wait until the Veteran was completely calm and
completely stable before we could access some
of those services. And so I felt that we
could do better. According to Thuriere, the
facility brings together the majority of mental
health programs and services into one, convenient location
versus being spread out across campus – a
Veteran-centered concept conceived by Thuriere
as early as 1999. And have you seen the offices,
the meeting spaces, the conference rooms? Our
staff can provide that work, the work that they do in the
most amazing environment and I couldn’t be happier
with the result. To learn more about the new
mental health center and services available to
Veterans, please visit www.baypines.va.gov. While
you are there, sign up for our e-news service, and connect with
us on Facebook and Twitter.

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