Albany – Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) Commissioner Frank Berry today joined area state legislators, local officials and community leaders at the Dougherty County Mental Health Outpatient Center to announce expanded infrastructure and mental health services. The expansion will create a Behavioral Health Crisis Center (BHCC), featuring an increase in capacity to 30 beds and six temporary observation beds at an approximate annual investment of $4.9 million. The new BHCC, which will be administered by the Albany Area Community Service Board, will create 20 new jobs in Dougherty County.
“The new Behavioral Health Crisis Center in Dougherty County will help our agency achieve its mission of serving individuals with mental health challenges as close to home as possible,” said Commissioner Berry. “The new Center also represents our commitment to increasing mental health services throughout Region Four, while reducing burdens on hospitals and law enforcement agencies.”
In total, DBHDD plans to invest more than $17.5 million annually in expanded infrastructure and services throughout Region Four for Georgians who live with mental health challenges. This amount is in addition to the numerous other mental health services the agency currently provides. New or expanded services will include BHCCs, Crisis Stabilization Units, Intensive Case Management Teams and Mobile Crisis teams. The Dougherty County BHCC and others in Region Four will become emergency receiving facilities for law enforcement to drop off individuals who require mental health services.
A BHCC combines short-term, 24/7, walk-in crisis intervention and counseling services with emergency receiving capability and crisis stabilization beds. Individuals who are experiencing behavioral health crises are provided assessment, short-term crisis counseling, supportive services and referrals for ongoing care. Staffing includes physicians, registered nurses, licensed clinicians and other behavioral health professionals to provide interventions designed to de-escalate crisis situations and prevent out-of-community treatment or hospitalization. If individuals need a higher level of care, the attached CSU allows for admissions for short-term residential treatment.
The Region Four office is one of six administrative field offices in the DBHDD regional system that works to develop a community-based system of care for its clients. DBHDD Region Four includes the following counties: Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Colquitt, Cook, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Grady, Irwin, Lanier, Lee, Lowndes, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner and Worth. For more information regarding mental health and developmental disability services please visit www.dbhdd.ga.gov.
Frank Berry has served as commissioner of DBHDD since August, 2012. The DBHDD is the state agency that focuses solely on policies, programs, and services for people with mental illness, substance use disorders and developmental disabilities. The department’s mission is to help the people it serves live a life of recovery and independence.