In his final State of the State address Tuesday, Kasich announced a new $112 million facility will replace the current Twin Valley Behavioral Health Hospital in Columbus, which was built in 1977. The state psychiatric hospital is the busiest in Ohio, and also one of the oldest.
The new hospital will aim to better serve its growing population of younger patients, as well as add private rooms and more square footage per patient, said Tracy Plouck of the Ohio Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
"This will be a resource that we can use for at least 50 years into the future," Plouck said. "It is imperative that we make sure our hospitals remain at a standard that can be accredited nationally – this is going to help us to do so."
Plouck said the building needed to be updated to meet safety and security standards. Construction of the new hospital is slated to begin within the next year, and will open by 2022.
Local mental health advocates support revamping the hospital and providing more beds for patients. But the most important next step is providing support to patients once they’re released from treatment, said Terry Russell, with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ohio.
"After this is built, we need to make sure when these people get out of the hospital, they have a place to go," Russell said. "Too many now go right back to where they were and the illness comes back and is not helped."
Kasich’s mental health plan also includes $20 million that will go towards supporting mental health programs for young people.