$34M To Fund Uvalde Behavioral Health Center

Gov. Greg Abbott | Photo by Peter Nicholls/Getty Images

The construction of a new behavioral health campus in Uvalde has received financial support from the state.

Gov. Greg Abbott announced this week the allocation of $34 million to construct the center, providing services to children and adults living in 32 surrounding counties. An additional $5 million has been approved to cover operational costs for the first year, which includes mental health professionals providing around-the-clock care. The modern campus is anticipated to be completed by 2025.

“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,” said Abbott in a news release.

Last year, state legislators passed two bills to fund the project, which Abbott signed off on. Now, with the necessary appropriation completed, the project can be realized.

Mental health has become a significant topic of conversation in statehouses nationwide after research showed significant harm done during the COVID-19 pandemic, as previously reported by The Dallas Express. Experts have pointed to a series of school shootings and other random acts of violence as highlighting how important having access to mental healthcare can be for a community.

The new facility will fill a serious need in the community by offering those with a mental health crisis immediate aid. It is slated to have a 16-bed crisis unit for adults, including 10 crisis residential beds and six extended observation unit beds. Meanwhile, its dedicated youth wing will feature a 16-bed crisis unit for children and adolescents, including 12 crisis residential beds and four EOU beds.

Uvalde has donated seven acres for the project, which is expected to comprise two buildings and span over roughly 50,000 square feet. It will be operated by Hill Country Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Centers under contract with the Texas Health and Human Services Commission.

“The regional facility will be a state-of-the-art crisis and outpatient center serving those who are most in need,” said Tod Citron, CEO of Hill County Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Center, to Texas Public Radio. “We are thrilled to be bringing these critically needed behavioral health care services to Uvalde.”

Construction is expected to begin this summer. Uvalde was selected in honor of the 19 students and two teachers killed at Robb Elementary School in 2022. The school has since been torn down and is being replaced with a new campus as the community continues to heal from the tragedy.

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