THOMASVILLE — The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) is no longer serve clients at Southwestern State Hospital (SWSH) in Thomasville.
Since DBHDD Commissioner Frank Berry announced the closure in May, SWSH staff has been preparing for the transition.
“We recognize that continuity of quality care is the key to a successful transition,” said Berry. “Over the years, Southwestern has benefited from an immensely talented, dedicated, and loyal workforce.”
“We are fortunate that many of these valued staff have chosen to accept similar positions within our network of community providers.”
The decision to close SWSH was based on a number of factors, primarily resulting from a 2010 settlement agreement entered into by the United States Department of Justice, DBHDD, and the Georgia Department of Community Health. In order to fulfill the agreement, DBHDD is shifting from an institutional model of health care delivery, to a community-based system of care.
As a result, new Behavioral Health Crisis Service Centers have opened in Thomasville, Valdosta, and Albany. These 24/7 walk-in facilities serve individuals with a wide range of behavioral health needs, in addition to serving as an emergency receiving facility for law enforcement.
The center in Albany is at 601 W. 11th Ave.
The care of developmental disability clients who have transitioned out of SWSH will continue to be overseen and monitored by DBHDD. People experiencing behavioral health challenges, who were formerly served at SWSH, can now be served at various facilities across the region. Those with higher, long-term mental health needs will be served in an alternative inpatient hospital setting. Forensic clients formerly served at SWSH have been transferred to other state forensic facilities.
Routine behavioral health and crisis services are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week via the Georgia Crisis and Access Line (GCAL) at (800) 715-4225. For more information about DBHDD services, visit www.dbhdd.ga.gov or contact the DBHDD Regional Office at (229) 225-5099.