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Hale Ho‘ola: New patient facility offers healing and hope

Posted on Nov 8, 2022 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main

Gov. Ige, legislators, state hospital staff and DOH officials gather at new facility.

In his 2016 State of the State address, Governor Ige spoke of extending compassion to those who struggle every day with mental illness, especially those who are homeless. “Mental health is the single most pressing, unmet health issue facing our state,” he maintained. That’s why the Ige administration made a new forensic facility at the Hawai‘i State Hospital a top priority.

First mental health tech graduates Jacqueline Turner and Cristine Lucas.

Today that 144-bed, $160 million facility — officially named Hale Ho‘ola (a place of healing, safety)  — is a reality and has more than 120 patients. Most of them have been ordered there by the courts after committing minor or serious offenses. “This facility marks a new era in providing quality care in a secure environment to those who need it most,” said the governor. “It creates a therapeutic, healing environment and provides a secure forensic psychiatric facility to keep patients and staff safe.” State Hospital administrator Dr. Run Heidelberg added, “Now with our new hospital facility, we have a real game-changer. We’re out of the business of warehousing people. We’ll be able to address the needs of some of our most troubled residents.”

Dr. Amy Curtis, Department of Health adult mental health division administrator, said she’s encouraged by changes in the community’s approach to mental illness. “For the first time, we’re seeing everything aligned in the executive, legislative, judicial and public health areas,” she said. Dr. Heidelberg was also excited about a partnership with neighboring Windward Community College to provide the state’s first mental health technician certificate program, being offered free of charge for Fall 2022. The program prepares students to work as assistants to mental health professionals in institutions and community-based settings. Interested students can learn more at



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