In a matter of a few weeks, full mental health services should be restored to Colquitt County.
It was over two years ago that the Mental Health Center on North Main Street, operated by Georgia Pines, closed in a budget crunch. Since that time, mental health patients had to drive to Thomasville or Pelham for services. Also in this interim, the absence of a center in Moultrie manifested itself at the county jail and Colquitt Regional Medical Center’s emergency room as well as in other venues.
The restoration of services comes through a cooperation with Colquitt Regional, Turning Point and Georgia Pines following an analysis of these problems by the Mental Health Committee of the Archway Project.
The announcement that the services will be restored came Wednesday at a meeting of the Mental Health Committee.
Jim Matney, CEO of Colquitt Regional, and Ben Marion, Turning Point director, briefed the committee on the development of this project which has been actively under way for several months.
“We will have services restored for five days a week,” said Matney.
Turning Point will be providing a psychiatrist one day a week and counseling and clinical services will be available five days a week.
“The hospital authority really stepped up to the plate on this project,” said Matney.
The services will be returned to the former Mental Health Center on North Main Street.
It will cost just over $400,000 a year to finance this project with $295,000 committed by Georgia Pines, $90,000 from Colquitt Regional with details on the remainder of the financing still to be worked out.
“These services will be provided ... it is going to happen,” said Matney.
Meanwhile, plans are still being developed to implement a Mental/Drug Court in Colquitt County. This project also comes out of the Mental Health Committee of the Archway Project.
It has been established that many drug problems and mental health problems are connected. These type courts are already established in some communities and are referred to generally as “courts of accountability.” The focus of these courts is to mandate intensive treatment programs for addicts as opposed to conventional incarceration.
Another tangent of the Mental Health Committee’s efforts is the development of a NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) chapter in Colquitt County. At the moment, this effort is under the auspices of a NAMI chapter in Albany.