New mental health services for North Georgia to begin in April

March 31, 2011

FLOWERY BRANCH, GA – The first of several new community mental health services for North Georgia will begin operating in April, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) announced today. The state agency and its community providers made the announcement at the opening of a new Crisis Stabilization Unit in Flowery Branch operated by Avita Community Partners. In addition to the 16-bed Crisis Stabilization Unit, the department also announced that it is launching an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team, operated by Anka Behavioral Health, Inc., that will be able to serve people in Hall and surrounding counties wherever they live. The department is also finalizing its talks with Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Laurelwood facility to provide inpatient mental health care as needed. Together, the new services will be able to provide approximately 125 people a day with mental health treatment closer to their own communities. Previously, people with both crisis and acute needs had to be taken to Rome, Georgia, to receive care at the state psychiatric hospital there.

“Today we’re seeing first-hand the change that people with mental illness and their families have long asked for: more services, tailored to each individual’s needs, closer to home,” said DBHDD Commissioner Frank Shelp, MD, MPH. “We’re excited to be working with a range of partners in the community to provide a full spectrum of services.”

Over the next couple of months DBHDD will be adding another Crisis Stabilization Unit, two more ACT teams, and the capacity to serve 35 people in community hospitals in North Georgia. The new mental health services for Region 1 are the first in a statewide expansion of community-based services over the next five years with the goal of eliminating the need for costly and isolating institutionalization of people with mental illness.

Contact Information: 
Tom Wilson (