New mental hospital should be in the east
Last month, a state agency reported that West Virginia's two acute-care psychiatric hospitals are overcrowded. The 240 available beds are consistently below the number needed, according to the Bureau for Behavioral Health & Health Facilities.
Several communities are probably interested in being home to a new mental hospital, since it would offer an assortment of jobs for health professionals and others. An editorial in The Weston Democrat urged state lawmakers to locate any new facility there, since the closing of the old Weston State Hospital was an economic blow to their area.
In all fairness, though, lawmakers should consider a new hospital on our side of the mountains. Currently, police have to transport mental patients and prisoners for evaluation to hospitals in Weston or Huntington. This costs tax dollars and takes time away from police duties. Plus, if the patient is hospitalized long, his family must make a long trek to visit.
A mental hospital somewhere in the growing Eastern Panhandle would make a lot more sense than a third facility in the western half of the state.