MIDDLESEX — Vermont mental health officials say they’re hoping a new seven-bed psychiatric unit in Middlesex will pass inspections this week and be ready to be open and admitting patients by next week.
Interim Mental Health Commissioner Frank Reed told The Burlington Free Press that licensing and fire safety inspectors need to declare the building ready for occupancy, which Reed says is expected this week.
The Middlesex Therapeutic Community Residence, as the facility is to be called, will house people who are no longer considered the most acutely mentally ill, but who are still judged to need to live in a locked environment.
A staff of 32 will offer structured treatment that they hope will bring long-term recovery to patients who are past the most acute phases of mental illness and preparing to return to the community.
“Our goal is to create as much peace and joy as well as build living skills,” said the facility’s director, Debra Olivetti.
In combination with other state-run facilities, the Middlesex residents will mean Vermont will have “a pretty comprehensive array of care compared to other states,” said Frank Reed, the state’s interim mental health commissioner.
It represents a key piece of the puzzle officials have been trying to put together since flooding from Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 forced the closure of the 54-bed Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury.
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