Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local News

March 11, 2014

BHCC serving local mental health needs

Last June, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) announced the creation of three behavioral health crisis centers (BHCC) in Albany, Thomasville and Valdosta. The BHCCs are full inpatient service centers for clients experiencing mental health challenges and drug or alcohol abuse. They began serving patients in anticipation of the closure of Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville on Dec. 31, 2013.

The hospital closure is a part of DBHDD's ongoing commitment to build community-based services. This is consistent with the department's mission to serve individuals as close to their homes as possible and in the least restrictive setting. Serving clients in this way allows them to be active members of their communities and helps them in their life-long journey to recovery and independence.

The BHCC is a new service in Georgia that functions as an enhanced crisis stabilization unit (CSU). These centers accept walk-ins 24/7 and combine short-term crisis intervention, counseling services and emergency receiving capabilities.

Serving clients with mental health needs in Thomasville remains a top priority for the department. More than $67.2 million has been allocated for behavioral health services in the state’s 2015 budget. This money will fund community-based based services across southwest Georgia. The funds include $24 million in new services across the region. The three behavioral health centers include 78 crisis beds and 18 temporary observation beds, offer a substantial increase in the number of behavioral health beds previously available at Southwestern State Hospital.

DBHDD contracts with Behavioral Health Link to provide the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL), which offers 24/7 appointments, referrals and mobile crisis dispatch. People experiencing crisis or other behavioral health needs can access free and confidential help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling (800) 715-4225 or visiting www.mygcal.com.

New services southwest Georgia residents can access through GCAL include:

- 3 behavioral health crisis centers

- 3 private psychiatric hospital contracts

- 9 outpatient behavioral health clinics

- 3 assertive community treatment programs

- 20 case managers

- 3 crisis respite apartments

- 4 intensive residential treatment programs

- 6 supported housing providers

- 3 supported employment providers

- 1 peer wellness center

- 1 peer wellness respite center

- Mobile crisis services covering all 24 counties in the department's southwest region

To learn more about the services listed above, contact DBHDD's regional office in Thomasville at (229) 225-5099, visit www.dbhdd.georgia.gov/region-4.

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