JUNCTION CITY, Ore.– State and local leaders came together to celebrate a milestone. They performed a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new Oregon State psychiatric hospital in Junction City.
Michael Schlimmer will enter the facility for treatment next Wednesday. He says today marks a day of hope.
“When I was admitted to the mental health system I was kind of ashamed, but today, with the willingness and acceptance, it takes away from the stigma that we all face,” said Schlimmer.
Inside the walls is a miniature version of society. A staff of more than 300 will provide care that is patient-centered. It’s a fundamentally different approach from 50 years ago.
“Oregon is famous for the book ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”, and the whole idea of what used to be mental health treatment which was locking people away. This hospital is about preparing people to move to lower level of care and eventually getting them home,” said Lane County Commissioner Jay Bozeviech.
State Representative Val Hoyle fought tirelessly to make the hospital a reality. She says this journey was very personal.
“I have a brother who has severe mental illness and he cycles in and out of the state hospital and I wanted a place that was built that I would feel comfortable having my family member in,” said Hoyle.
For Schlimmer, he is optimistic about his treatment and is eager to get back into society.
“We look forward to the day when mental illness would be looked at as any other illness. I think this is a continuation for great things to come,” said Schlimmer.
The ceremony also highlighted the hospital’s economic impact. Most of the materials and subcontractors were local, and building the facility created many jobs. The first round of patients move in on March 11.