Mental health facility will fill community void

Jim Shaheen of SBH addresses local officials at Tuesday's groundbreaking.
Jim Shaheen of SBH addresses local officials at Tuesday’s groundbreaking.

If you happened to drive past the groundbreaking ceremony for the new mental health facility Tuesday morning, you might have noticed a significant number of law enforcement personnel in attendance.

No, the governor wasn’t speaking and we weren’t there for security. Representatives from all our local public safety agencies were there to offer our wholehearted support to the new Strategic Behavioral Health hospital, which will fill a vital need in our area when it opens early next year.

In my 20 years with the College Station Police Department, we’ve dealt with countless numbers of people suffering from mental health issues. Our officers are trained to deal with these situations, but they aren’t mental health professionals. Many of these individuals end up in jail or are taken to the nearest emergency room when proper treatment could have relieved or prevented the situation.

Through our daily experiences, law enforcement officers genuinely understand the struggles mental illness creates for families. Most of the time, these individuals are able to cope with their illnesses, but any number of things can trigger a crisis. If proper intervention, treatment and support systems are available, the patient usually gets better. 

Local agencies often drive these individuals, at significant cost, to the nearest treatment options in Austin or Houston. College Station’s new hospital will include inpatient and outpatient services for children, adolescents, adults and senior citizens. We are looking forward to developing a lasting partnership with Strategic Behavioral Health, which will provide an invaluable resource for our community.

Jeff Capps
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