Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Inpatient services coming back to Victoria

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Nov. 12, 2012 at 5:12 a.m.

The Gulf Bend Center is planning a major expansion, and we are pleased to see it.

After receiving approval for a $250,000 grant from the Victoria City Council, the center plans to build a facility to house some of Victoria's most vulnerable residents, including respite, transitional, and permanent and long-term mentally disabled limited clientele adults.

Gulf Bend Center Executive Director Don Polzin says he hopes the center will be open by late 2013, and we are excited at all the possibilities it will offer for mental health treatment in the Crossroads.

The Victoria area has been without an inpatient service provider since Citizens Medical Center shut down the One South unit in April 2010. Since that time, if Victorians needed help that required inpatient treatment, they had to go to one of the surrounding cities, such as Houston, San Antonio or Corpus Christi. But with this new planned facility with Gulf Bend, people from Victoria or other Crossroads cities will not experience nearly as much inconvenience as they receive treatment.

Now, Gulf Bend is negotiating to buy a nearly three-acre site in the 1100 block of Nimitz Street to be the location of this new facility and is partnering with the Johnson Foundation, which has agreed to match the city's grant. But even then, Gulf Bend will need to raise more funds to make this a reality, and we encourage members of the community to take any chance they can to show their support and invest in the mental health of Victoria and the Crossroads by contributing to this cause.

When the facility is open, it will offer a new facet of mental health care Victoria has been without for more than two years, and the effects of that option could be much wider than convenience for area residents seeking care. Polzin says the effects could extend from fostering a better social environment and safer communities to fewer incarcerations. The main improvement will be the quality of life for those able to receive treatment in a comfortable, familiar environment close to home.

We applaud Gulf Bend for taking this step to meet the needs of Victoria and the Crossroads. Mental health is a vital part of any person's quality of life. We appreciate everything they do and hope to do to improve the mental health of our friends and neighbors in the Crossroads community.

In addition, we applaud all those working with Gulf Bend to see this facility become a reality. We are glad to see the Johnson Foundation and the city council stepping forward to offer solutions for those suffering with mental health issues, rather than treating the issue with the stigma so much of society seems to accept. Thank you for all your help and support. We look forward to seeing the positive effects of this facility once it is built.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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