Viewpoint: $238M in federal funds needed for Dallas psychiatric hospital to combat mental health crisis

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State Sen. Jane Nelson and Rep. Greg Bonnen, both Republicans, recently proposed to use a portion of Texas' $16.3 billion in funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to build a 200-bed state psychiatric hospital in Dallas, a decision that The Dallas Morning News editorial board said Oct. 5 should be a top priority.

The proposal would use $237.8 million of the state's federal funds to build the hospital. Dallas is the largest city in Texas without a state psychiatric hospital, according to the Morning News. The closest one is in Terrell, Texas, which is a 45-minute drive.

The facility would treat people for mood disorders, psychotic disorders, substance use disorders and neurocognitive disorders. It would also provide forensic psychiatry.

The state legislature has already approved $45 million to plan, design and acquire land for the hospital.

"The Dallas state psychiatric hospital won't fix all that ails the state's mental health system, but it will undoubtedly improve the lives of many of North Texas' neediest patients," the editorial board wrote. "We hope our lawmakers treat it as the priority it should be."

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