News Article Details

Gateway holds groundbreaking for psychiatric crisis facility

Savannah Morning News - 5/30/2019

May 29--Those needing emergency help for psychiatric issues have help on the way with a groundbreaking held Wednesday for the Chatham County Behavioral Health Crisis Center.

The psychiatric crisis facility has been a joint effort of the Georgia General Assembly, the state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, and the Chatham County Commission.

The facility is 22,000 square feet with an 24-hour, year-round walk-in crisis service alternative to hospital emergency rooms.

Services are for people needing emergency help with psychiatric diagnoses, including hallucinations, psychosis and severe depression.

The center will have a living room model emergency walk-in area, a separate entrance for ambulances and law enforcement, 24 acute care beds and six areas for patient observation. Patients can be observed up to 23 hours without being admitted.

Gateway Community Service Board will operate the center at 2125 E. DeReene Ave.Gateway was established in 1993 as a community service board by the Georgia General Assembly.

The county agreed in March to fund up to $700,000 for completion of the building. The county will also provide $700,000 per year for operations.

Annual funding costs are estimated at $8 million. The Georgia Department of Behavioral Health Developmental Disabilities will provide annual funding of $7.3 million.

The county requires that Gateway submit a quarterly report to the county finance department detailing services provided, use of funds, number of participants, program impacts and outcomes. Gateway will also submit an annual audit report to the county.

Gateway expects to serve at least 100 patients each month.

Gateway officials said the Behavioral Health Crisis Center will offer faster intervention than a hospital emergency room where heart attacks and motor vehicle accident injuries take precedence. The center can also serve as a resource for nonviolent offenders with a mental illness who otherwise would be in jail.

The center is expected to open March 1, 2020. Gateway also operates a Behavioral Health Crisis Center in Brunswick.

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(c)2019 Savannah Morning News (Savannah, Ga.)

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