The launching of more mental health services at the Bibb County Department of Family and Children Services could mean the difference between life and death, its director said.
Director Marjorie Almand said Thursday’s start means people who really need help won’t be bounced around the area like a pinball to get the services they need. Past clients have killed themselves — or others, she said.
“I’ve had people come in here and die in the next hour,” she said. “If you’re ready to crumble, you’re not going to be able to get on a bus. If you need help, you need it now.”
Two employees from River Edge Behavioral Health Center started working there Thursday.
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They plan to bring group and individual therapy, skills training and parenting classes to families with children who are addicted or emotionally or behaviorally disturbed. The program is to be funded with a grant for one year, but River Edge’s chief executive officer, Shannon Harvey, said she hopes the DFACS site could one day be a full clinic, including a physician’s service.
“We at River Edge say we make life better, and this is the beginning of something wonderful,” Harvey said.
The program is funded by a grant of $43,318 from the state Department of Human Resources, plus another $14,439 split between River Edge and DFACS. Susan Johansen and Tabatha Hogges will run the Family Preservation program. River Edge was already working with DFACS on drug addiction cases.
One goal of plans to move the county’s Juvenile Court to a site near the DFACS office on Oglethorpe Street would be to let social-service agencies better collaborate. The county has suggested that it could convert existing buildings in the area. Almand said the program announced Thursday would protect and help families.
“I think this saves lives. This prevents children from suffering, adults from suffering,” she said.
To contact writer Mike Stucka, call 744-4251.