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Mark Twain Behavioral Health breaks ground on new facility to meet increased need

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Officials breaking ground with golden shovels Officials breaking ground with golden shovels
The celebration began with opening remarks The celebration began with opening remarks
Pictures of the new facility Pictures of the new facility
HANNIBAL, Mo. (WGEM) -

There's a new effort to expand mental health and substance abuse services in Northeast Missouri. Doctors say those services are desperately needed.

Mark Twain Behavioral Health broke ground on their new location Friday morning.

"We've had a lot of request for service over the years and the demand continues to grow, so we felt like the only way we could meet that demand is to expand our facilities,” said Michael Cantrell, Chief Executive Officer, Mark Twain Behavioral Health.

The new facility will be able to help more people like James Stewart, who suffers from schizophrenia.

"It's a severe condition, but thanks to the people at Mark Twain, I've been symptom free for six years,” said Stewart.

"We work with people with substance abuse, personality disorders, psychiatric disorders, once they have identified what their goals are and their treatment, we help them get to that point where they can cope and manage,” said Steve Krueger, community support specialist.

Right now, the current facility serves around 3500 patients a year.

Stewart said he waited six months to get off the waiting list, but officials said the expansion will allow them to serve around 30 percent more patients, and shorten the wait time.

"The only way we were going to be able to get that waiting list down was to add more staff, and we simply did not have the space at our current facility,” Cantrell said.

Stewart said since he's started at Mark Twain Behavioral Health, his entire life has changed and now he wants to help others change their lives.

"I'm living independently now, and matter of fact, I will be starting a new position here at Mark Twain as a peer support specialist,” Stewart said. “That's a position that utilizes the experiences of someone who has been through it and provides a new kind of perspective.”

The new facility will be located at the corner or Forrest Drive and Medical Drive in Hannibal. The goal is to have it open by the Spring of 2018.

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