GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. (WCCO) – Health advocates are speaking out after a Twin Cities suburb voted down a permit to open a mental health facility for teenagers.

Lifespan – an organization which treats clients for ADHD, schizophrenia and autism disorders – wants to open a facility in a vacant property along Pennsylvania Avenue in Golden Valley, but council members voted down a permit this week after neighbors voiced safety concerns.

Mayor Shep Harris apologized Saturday for the hurtful comments made during the council meeting.

He told WCCO there is now a 60-day extension to the proposal so both sides can continue to discuss the proposal.

“My hope is that by having that education, that dialogue, we’ll then be able to come back and we’ll make a much more informed decision,” Harris said. “Not based on stereotype, not based on fear, but an informed decision.”

Sue Abderholden from NAMI Minnesota says citizens should give teens in need of mental health help a chance.

“I think if you really understand mental illness in children, you’re not going to be fearful of them,” Abderholden said. “You will hope they’ll get better.”

Lifespan says if the Golden Valley location doesn’t work out, it will look at opening a facility elsewhere in the northwest metro.


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