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John Peter Smith Hospital to build psychiatric emergency room

John Peter Smith Hospital to build psychiatric emergency room
John Peter Smith Hospital to build psychiatric emergency room 01:49

FORT WORTH, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — As the need for mental health care continues to grow across North Texas, one local hospital is working on meeting those needs. 

John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth is working on expanding and building a new psychiatric emergency hospital to help those who need assistance. 

"If it wasn't for the hospital and the people who work in it, I don't know where I would be or if I would even be here today," JPS Behavioral Health patient Lonny Jepsen said. 

Jepsen took the time to share his story about struggling with mental health and how doctors at JPS turned his life around during a celebration Wednesday.

"They kept trying, they didn't give up," Jepsen said. "By about the third, or fourth day I decided that this isn't as hard as I thought it was, to make a change."

Now he's hopeful the unit who helped him, will help others. JPS is expanding its psychiatric emergency center.

The hospital hosted a groundbreaking to celebrate this moment. 

The addition will add 60 extra care spaces for patients suffering from mental health issues.

"I thank you all for all this, and for this new hospital that's coming up," Jepsen said. 

The expansion is a part of a bond package approved by voters in 2017, to improve the hospital's facilities. Then the pandemic delayed those plans.

JPS' psychiatric emergency center is the only one in Tarrant County. It's also one of the busiest in the nation.

"A free standing site for our community to come and to be able to come regardless of uhm, where they're at in life and to be accepted there and treated with both respect and dignity," JPS Health Network CEO and President Karen Duncan said. 

"I know it's going to help save a lot of people," Jepsen said. 

Construction is scheduled to start before the end of the year. 

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