Pima County's newest psychiatric facilities officially open their doors

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- Thursday two new psychiatric facilities, years in the making, officially opened in Pima County.

Dozens of community leaders and health professionals gathered to celebrate the official opening of the Behavioral Health Pavilion and the Crisis Response Center at the University of Arizona Medical Center South Campus.

"Today is a very exciting day.  It's amazing that we're actually here," said Chief of Behavioral Health Services Dr. Patricia Harrison-Monroe. 

"It took about five or six years but as you can see these facilities are up, they're operating and they're really taking care of people in our community," said Community Partnership of Southern Arizona CEO Neal Cash.

The facilities were funded by voter approved bonds in 2004 and 2006 totaling $54 million.

Pima County Board Supervisor Richard Elias says this is something the voters should be proud of.

"The voters of Pima County have done some amazing things for all of us at a time when health care has really been a problem for many families," said Elias.

The Behavioral Health Pavilion offers an outpatient psychiatry clinic, classrooms for teaching and a courthouse for involuntary commitment hearings.

The Crisis Response Center comes with a secure first responders entrance for people in crisis, a 24-hour crisis call center and crisis stabilization areas for adults and children.

"Many communities, unfortunately, use their jails and emergency departments as their behavior health crisis systems, and this community opted to take a different route and you cane see the results of that here today," said Cash.

The goal of the partnership between Pima County, the Community Partnership of Southern Arizona, and the U of A Medical Center is to be a leader in behavioral health, and these new facilities help make that goal attainable.

"Showing other states, other cities how to really create a cohesive service system.  If a patient comes, we will find the kind of services that will be most helpful to that patient," said Dr. Harrison-Monroe.

Some 1500 patients have received care at the facilities since August.

Although the doors to the facilities opened in August, Thursday was the ceremonial opening day.