New Mexico residents to vote on new $36M pediatric psychiatric center

The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque is seeking a $36 million general obligation bond for a new pediatric psychiatric center, which the city's residents will vote on this November, KOB4 reported Oct. 12. 

Voters will be asked to approve more beds, a new therapeutic design and funding. The new design plans include 52 beds compared to the current 35, which can't be used due to infrastructure issues.

The university said the youth suicide rate in the state is double the national average. 

"We see many more children whose chief complaint is thoughts of harming myself, or wishing to be dead," Mauricio Tohen, MD, chair of the UNM psychiatry department, told the news outlet.

Behavioral and mental healthcare facility closures have been on the rise, overwhelming the university's current facility, which says it does not have enough beds, according to KOB4. The university also predicts outpatient need will grow by 16 percent and inpatient need will increase by 5 percent over the next decade.

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