A new building that will house mentally ill veterans during their treatment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Salem is nearing completion.
Construction of the $9.5 million, 38-bed facility comes as more veterans return from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq with mental health needs.
Last year, the Salem VA received $1.7 million to hire an extra 13 mental health staffers as part of a national effort by the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve its psychiatric treatment program.
A spokeswoman for the Salem hospital said plans for the new building predate that initiative.
Nonetheless, “this will be a significant improvement over our current facilities for acute psychiatry treatment,” Marian McConnell said.
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