A state-of-the-art research center to help veterans suffering combat related mental disorders will be built in Charleston.
After eight years of waiting, the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Hospital in Charleston broke ground on a future research center that officials there say will be significant in the study and treatment of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The 16,000 square feet addition will be a fully equipped scientific lab space co-located with clinical areas to speed treatment for veterans. Initially, the addition will be a one-story structure attached to the VA medical center and will be built to allow for future expansion.
Funding for the addition will come from a $10 million grant the hospital was awarded two years ago. The mental health staff has more than doubled in size over the past five years, according to Veterans Administration officials, 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.
“It is imperative we continue the business of what we do best here at the Charleston VA Medical Center,” Charleston VAMC Director Carolyn Adams said in a statement, “Our highest priority is to make sure our veterans receive the very best proven treatment methods.”
The VA hospital currently treats 55,000 veterans. Officials say that number grows about eight percent every year. The building is being designed with five wet labs, 27 exam rooms and three group rooms for PTSD and mental health research.