The Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony for the Mental Health Research & Laboratory addition Thursday, December 13, 2012.
The 16,000 square feet addition is a fully equipped scientific lab space co-located with clinical areas to speed treatment discoveries for Veterans. Initially, this addition will be a one-story structure attached to the VA medical center and will be constructed to allow for future expansion.
The VA medical center has aggressively prepared over the past five years to meet the increased demand for mental health treatment for returning combat Veterans, while maintaining continuity of care for Veterans of other eras.
The mental health staff has more than doubled in size adding clinical specialists and researchers in areas such as general mental health, substance abuse treatment, homeless program and the PTSD clinic. The building expansion will add the first research space for investigations in multiple health areas.
Ms. Carolyn Adams, Director of the Charleston VAMC, Capt. Mary Kim Kenney-Gutshall, Commanding Officer at Naval Health Clinic Charleston, Joint Base Charleston Weapons Station and Lt. Col Ed Chamberlin, Commanding Officer of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Charleston District, helped break the ground during the ceremony.
“It is imperative we continue the business of what we do best here at the Charleston VA Medical Center,” said Adams. “Our highest priority is to make sure our Veterans receive the very best proven treatment methods.”
Adams added that the PTSD/Mental Health research building will add even more to one of the best mental health programs in the Department of Veterans Affairs.
The Charleston VA Mental Health service provides evidenced based therapies such as prolonged exposure and cognitive behavior therapies in clinical and via telemedicine for Veterans diagnosed with PTSD throughout South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.