I recently announced the closure of Southwestern State Hospital (SWSH) in Thomasville effective December 31, 2013. DBHDD made the difficult but pragmatic decision to close SWSH for two primary reasons. First, closing SWSH is consistent with the agency’s mission to serve individuals as close to home as possible in the least restrictive setting. As we move from an institutional based system of care to a community based system of care, we will continue to support and develop a network of providers to offer choice and deliver quality care, resulting in improved outcomes for the people we serve.
On May 17, the DBHDD Board approved a new structure for our regions that will improve the continuity of care and the accessibility of our behavioral health system by adding a sixth region and adjusting all of the regional borders accordingly. Our goal in developing this plan has been to improve the continuum of services for people with mental illness, substance use disorders, and developmental disabilities, and to raise our regional offices to a new level of leadership and responsiveness.
A discussion of Georgia’s mental health system was held this evening at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. Since the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the state’s lead agency in charge of policies and programs for people with mental illness, developmental disabilities, and substance use disorders, was not invited to participate in the discussion, the agency provided the following additional information.