News Release: Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
Thomasville--Effective December 31, 2013, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD) will no longer serve clients at Southwestern State Hospital (SWSH) in Thomasville. The hospital will close on Tuesday. The closure comes after months of careful planning and working with individuals and their families to provide the best access to high-quality care and is consistent with DBHDD’s mission and goals to serve individuals as close to home as
possible in the least restrictive setting.
Since DBHDD Commissioner Frank Berry announced the closure in May, SWSH staff have worked with individuals and their families to ensure successful transitions from the hospital to a community provider that fits their specific needs.
“We recognize that continuity of quality care is the key to a successful transition. Over the years, Southwestern has benefited from an immensely talented, dedicated, and loyal workforce,” said Berry.
“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 resources have been focused on bringing intensive services to communities across the state, such as the opening of Behavioral Health Crisis Service Centers 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 care of developmental disability clients who have transitioned out of SWSH will continue to be overseen and monitored by DBHDD to ensure quality and safety. 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.
Throughout this time of transition, DBHDD remains committed to its mission of helping the individuals it serves live a life of recovery and independence, and create a sustainable, self-sufficient life in their community.
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 please visit www.dbhdd.ga.gov or contact the DBHDD Regional Office at (229) 225-5099.