Rio Grande State Center

From Asylum Projects
Jump to: navigation, search
Rio Grande State Center
Opened 1962
Current Status Active
Building Style Single Building
Location Harlingen, TX
Alternate Names
  • Harlingen Adult Mental Health Clinic
  • Harlingen State Mental Health Clinic
  • Rio Grande State Center for Mental Health and Mental Retardation


Rio Grande State Center (RGSC) opened in October, 1962 as the Harlingen Adult Mental Health Clinic in a line shack just off the runway of the Harlingen airbase. Initially, there were six staff members who provided follow-up care to individuals released from San Antonio State Hospital.

In 1963, the center moved into the abandoned Harlingen airbase hospital building, and in 1965 the name was changed to Harlingen State Mental Health clinic. By that time, the center had expanded to include day services for people up to 80 years old with a wide range of mental health and chemical addiction problems.

In-patient services with 20 mental health beds were included in 1968. The center also began to offer alcoholism and drug abuse treatment services. The following year, the center established outreach centers and clinics in key cities in the service area and the name was changed to Rio Grande State Center.

In 1972, the center added 130 beds for mental retardation residential services with the opening of two dorms on the campus of the South Texas Hospital. Patients came from all over the state. The residents participated in Adult Education and Independent Living Skills training on campus and Special Education in public schools. Residents participated in the Special Olympics, Jaycees, Girls Scouts, and Boy Scouts of America. Volunteer Services Council organized in 1964 donated a one-bedroom apartment building named after state representative Menton Murray, Sr., to RGSC so families from out-of-town could come visit and have a place to stay overnight. The Menton Murray, Sr. Clubhouse is presently used by residents 55 years and over as the Retirement Program. The Volunteer Services Council went on to later build a swimming pool, a nature park and a pavilion for all the residents. Intellectual Disabilities Services presently offers 110 residential beds certified by Intermediate Care Facilities for Mental Retardation and Joint Commission for Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. Many of the residents after intensive independent living skills training graduated into group homes in the community.

In Sept. 1989, a 15-bed Transitional Living Unit was opened. The unit provided extended service for adults prior to their transferred to group home or back into the community. This unit primarily served adults with chemical dependency and was closed in 1994.

RGSC was responsible for Community Based Services in the five northern counties of our service area. Satellite outpatient clinics were located in Kingsville, Alice, San Diego and Falfurrias. These clinics were separated from RGSC in 1996; however, RGSC continues to provide services to those counties.

July 1991 found the facility opening a new building to provide in-patient mental health services, adjacent to South Texas Hospital. This building named "Wayne Potter Memorial Building" in 2004 now accommodates two in-patient treatment units for persons with mental health illness for adults, psychologists, social services, nursing services, and admission offices. Art work from discharged patients decorates the conference room.

In 1998, RGSC converted 20 adult mental health services beds in Edinburg to a 15-bed adolescent unit for individuals age 12-17. This unit was closed in 2001 due to lack of funding.

RGSC is one of nine state mental health facilities within the then TDMHMR system. RGSC serves an 8 county area for inpatient mental health services, and provides long term residential care and active treatment to persons with intellectual disabilities in a 12-county area. Admissions to the RGSC comply with the provisions of the Texas Mental Health Code and/or Mental Retardation Act, and as such, may be on a voluntary or involuntary basis. RGSC is in the heart of one of the most economically depressed and medically under-served areas in the United States. The 8-county area served by RGSC has a population that is 83% Hispanic, 16% Anglo, and 1% other ethnic groups. The catchment area is approximately 10,000 square miles. RGSC currently employs approximately 366 employees.

Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation came to an end August 31, 2004 as a result of HB 2292. As a result, the facility consolidated services with South Texas Hospital, which was then the Texas Department of Health, and the name changed to Rio Grande State Center/South Texas Health Care System.