Marion VA medical center welcomes new mental health facility - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Marion VA medical center welcomes new mental health facility

MARION, IL (KFVS) -

Government statistics show that 22 veterans commit suicide each day, and a new mental health facility in Marion, Illinois, is hoping to bring that number down.

A grand opening for the new Center for Behavioral Health at the Marion VA Medical was held on Thursday.

A type of facility that veterans say is needed.

 “I know the veterans coming back now and the veterans from the past all could use the services, they’re going to be providing here,” Vietnam veteran, Harvey Jackson said.

Mental health services being provided all under one roof.

 “It’s kind of overwhelming going into a large hospital but going into a place that’s centered around mental health,” Marine Corps veteran, Gino Greganti said. “Going into a place that’s centered around mental health, I think that would be a great benefit for people who are afraid to ask for help.”

The new $8.3 million building has two levels, from therapy offices to group rooms.

 “We will be able to treat a veteran in one location for many veterans that suffer from mental health problems,” Chief of Behavioral Health at the Marion VA, Dr. Arlene Miksanek said. “Such as PTSD, depression, schizophrenia, alcohol use disorder, military sexual trauma, opioid use.”

Greganti, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, said the transition from military life to civilian life isn’t an easy process.

“There wasn’t really a lot of talk about PTSD when I got out, so I didn’t really even have a foundation of what it was, I just knew I was having problems,” Greganti said. “My spirit was telling me different, you know it was telling me, no you’re going to fight this, you’re going to get through this, but my mind was failing, it was giving up, it was losing hope.”

A transition that not only impacted him, but his loved ones as well.

Greganti said his wife’s support is why he is not a statistic.

“She’s been my rock,my shoulder to lean on,” Greganti said. “She’s carried me through hell and back.”

Greganti wants other veterans to know that it’s okay to ask for help.

“There are people out there for you – even if they’re not in your unit – there are people like me that you can reach out to, and places like this.”

Construction on the facility began back in January of 2014.

At just under 26,000 feet, officials with the Marion VA Medical hospital say more than 60 mental health employees will be working at the new center. 

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