First state psychiatric hospital to be built in Dallas County

A town hall meeting will be held to discuss the first state psychiatric hospital to be built in Dallas County.

It was approved last legislative session, but the facility will serve six counties in North Texas. Some say its 200 beds aren't enough.

At the southwest corner of Harry Hines and Medical District is where the new psychiatric state hospital is going to be built in Dallas County.

"For years, we've talked about a state mental health facility coming to the Dallas area, but the funds were not available," said State Rep. Toni Rose (D-Dallas).

There are renderings imagining the first state psychiatric hospital in Dallas County. It would be a 200-bed facility to be operated by UT Southwestern and will provide services for six surrounding counties with 60-day stays for people found incompetent.

Image 1 of 3


"Us to being able to look at that person and figure out whether or not they have mental health issues that can be addressed so we can get them back to competency as soon as possible," said State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas).     

Dallas County Commissioner John Wiley Price is concerned it's not enough when you consider it will serve six counties.

Nearly 400 people in the Dallas County jail right now have been deemed incompetent to stand trial and need somewhere to get help.

"Of these 200 beds, only about 28 of them are forensic. Now supposedly, they're moving to a different model. But that doesn't give me any relief. That doesn't provide any relief," Price said.

"They've given a number that I'm not satisfied with," Rose said. "So that’s why I want to keep the conversation going because I feel like there should be additional beds for forensic patients." 

Rose worked in the Dallas County jail for nine years as a Parkland Hospitals mental health liaison and knows it's critical people found incompetent get the help they need.

The mental health hospital has a $237 million price tag paid for mostly with American Rescue Plan Act funding.

Construction begins later this year with a completion target of 2025.

"It is definitely a win for Dallas County," Rose said. "And I’m very proud to lead the effort on this."

A town hall meeting was held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Paul Quinn College to answer questions about the new psychiatric state hospital coming to Dallas.