GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- The suicide rate on the Western Slope is nearly three times the national average.
The high rate is attributed to the lack of mental health services in our area.
A $2.5 million investment from Saint Mary's Hospital in the West Spring Hospital could help change that. The funding gives West Springs a jump start on a new $34 million construction project for a larger psychiatric facility.
The hospital reports it is constantly running at 90 percent capacity, which forces West Springs to turn away many seeking mental help.
West Springs in the only psychiatric hospital between Denver and Salt Lake City.
"Our hope is by building this new facility, they will never or rarely need to leave our community on the Western Slope to go receive care somewhere else," said Kim Bowe the Executive Director of West Springs. "It’s our mission to help people here where their support systems are."
The executive director hopes that more residents' needs will be met locally because they have seen a dramatic increase in admitted patients.
“I am hopeful that some of those folks that may have needed psychiatric care before, but were reluctant, might take a look at what we can offer them," said Bowe. "With the healing environment that we can offer, the demand for those beds may increase."
Currently, the West Springs facility only has six beds per 100,000 residents and the state average is 16 beds.
Bowe hopes to begin admitting patients in late 2018 or early 2019.
Bowe said the organization must reach a fundraising goal of $17 million before they can begin construction.