New VA facility in Palm Beach County to help with mental health, substance abuse

RIVIERA BEACH, Fla. - Local veterans struggling with addiction will soon get more help. 

The West Palm Beach VA Hospital is building a 60-bed Mental Health Domiciliary on the grounds of the VA hospital along Blue Heron Boulevard in Riviera Beach.

The construction is expected to be completed in 2019.

Veterans from near and far will be served. Officials say the Miami VA will share the use of the facility. 

Director Donna Katen-Bahensky says with the domiciliary in place they'll be able to monitor opioid abuse more closely, which the VA says is impacting Vietnam War veterans the most.

“It’s a significant problem for all of Palm Beach (County)," Katen-Bahensky said. "We don’t have enough resources or facilities, but we are building this new 60-bed domiciliary that will house both homeless individuals and those not homeless that have substance abuse issues.”

The National Veterans Foundation reports substance abuse is growing among new veterans too because service members are suffering very tough and traumatic experiences while deployed.

NVF says to cope with those psychological or physical scars, substance abuse may be an attempt to self-medicate or deal with the problem. 

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