CAMP LEJEUNE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Officials with Naval Hospital Camp Lejeune cut the ribbon to the new-and-improved Inpatient Mental Health Unit Monday morning.

Lieutenant Jacqueline Lopez says it's a safe place where service members or dependents don't have to be afraid to come.

"It helps us in being able to help the community and our patient population and being able to address all their mental health concerns for the area," Lopez said. "It could be as easy as just adjusting to military life, while sometimes being away from home for the first time, then just adjusting to the daily normal operating procedures of working in their new jobs."

Hospital Director Capt. David Lane says behavioral health providers are always pushing to fight the stigma against mental health.

"It doesn't just start here," Lane said. "In fact, this is the end. We hope that actually breaking down that stigma starts much sooner."

Lane says that ten years ago, the hospital had four behavioral health providers. Today, there are 72. He says these experts are even deployed with units so Marines and sailors feel comfortable talking about their problems in their own environment, rather than having to visit a treatment center.

But for those who need it, the center can now accommodate 20 patients. Before renovations, there were only enough beds for 12.

The rooms have multiple beds in them. Hospital officials say this is therapeutic for patients, because they can talk to each other to help them cope with what they're going through.

Lane says a three to five-day stay helps service members get back on their feet, through a routine schedule, group therapy and other state-of-the-art treatment.

"That interaction with each other, where everybody helps each other pull them up by their own boot straps is really the power, if you will, of the ward," Lane said.

That power could help other Marines and sailors feel confident in seeking treatment.