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New Mental Health Hospital To Be Built, Lessen Burden On Will County Jail

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Plans are in the works to build a new, 100-bed mental health hospital in southwest suburban New Lenox to serve people in Will and Grundy Counties.

"This hospital that's going to be built is nothing short of a Godsend," said Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow who said some of the patients at the new Silver Oaks Hospital will be people charged with crimes.

He said the hospital will lessen the burden on Will County Jail. WBBM's Bernie Tafoya reports.

"Without this facility, we lock them in a jail cell," Glasgow said. "That's not what they need."

Silver Cross Hospital Vice President Ruth Colby said the hospital will help people with all kinds of problems in Will County.

"There'll be a unit for women who've been traumatized or abused, a unit for veterans possibly," Colby said. "There'll be an adolescent unit which is a great need here in Will County. There'll be a unit for substance abuse."

The $22-million hospital will be built and operated by US HealthVest on the grounds of Silver Cross Hospital. Once the proposed facility receives state approval, construction of the 68,000 square foot, two-story facility will begin, with plans of late 2017 and completion scheduled for early 2019.

New Lenox Mayor, Tim Baldermann sees the need. His brother committed suicide at the age of 19.

"Mental illness, substance abuse issues, those are things that sometimes people want to bury their head in the sand on and not deal with," Baldermann said. "But the reality is, we have greater problems when we don't deal with it."

Silver Cross Hospital President Paul Pawlak said "this is going to be a vast improvement for mental health services in Will County."

Hospital Vice President Ruth Colby said the mental health facility will welcome everyone, "regardless of their insurance or lack of insurance."

Silver Cross Hospital currently has 20 beds in its mental health unit. Colby said that unit will be used for other needs once the new 100-bed hospital is complete.

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