Valdosta Daily Times

What We Think

June 10, 2013

A band-aid in a crisis?

-- — The announcement Monday by the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities that a crisis stabilization center will be built in Lowndes County is good news for some, not so great for others.

The announcement came with other news delivered by State Commissioner Frank Berry, including that only about half of the current employees at Southwestern State Hospital will end up with a chance at one of the jobs that will be filled at the two new crisis centers, including one in Thomas County and the expansion of the one in Albany, in addition to the various group facilities that will be built.

Also, at capacity, the three centers will only accommodate less than a third of those currently treated at Southwestern each month.

Yes, there are a handful of other facilities, and yes, individuals with mental-health and substance-abuse issues will be better served close to home, so those in Lowndes County will be better off but those in 21 of the 24 counties in the DBHDD District 4 still have to leave their local communities for acute care.

And yes, those who are having issues which require non-medical treatment can be taken straight to the crisis center, and won’t have to go into the local emergency rooms.

All of the changes announced by the state are in reaction to a Department of Justice ruling governing treatment and care at state facilities, particularly for those with developmental disabilities. The state isn’t being forced to close the hospitals, but appears to be doing so to trim personnel costs, with less than half of those currently employed at Southwestern even having the opportunity to move to another facility. The rest of the jobs will just go away.

And given that it takes an estimated $80,000 above the purchase price of a house to retrofit it to become a group home, another of the state’s initiatives to accommodate some of the individuals being turned out of the hospitals, the price tag for these initiatives is going to skyrocket just to pay for the new facilities and to operate them.

It seems more prudent to actually build the new crisis centers and group homes and slowly transfer patients from the hospital to the new units than to shut the hospital down in six months with no facilities constructed.

Perhaps the GDBHDD should rethink the timing and scope of these changes.

While those with developmental disabilities and substance-abuse issues are generally non-violent and pose no threat to themselves or others, the same can’t be said for all those currently served in the state system.

Until the state comes up with a long-term plan to deal with those who are a danger, building short-term crisis centers seems like just another band-aid on a much larger issue.

Text Only
What We Think
  • Feed the hungry, adopt a duck

    If you haven’t already adopted a duck, you have a little more than a week to do so.

    April 17, 2014

  • If I were mayor

    Each year, the City of Valdosta holds an essay contest, “If I Were Mayor,” with students in the area writing their ideas about what they would do as the head of the city.

    April 16, 2014

  • The real lessons of a mock drill

    Valdosta High School’s Students Against Destructive Decisions held a powerful mock demonstration Monday morning on the school’s campus.

    April 14, 2014

  • Kudos to VPD

    Followed by a stellar report on Sunday about the drop in the crime rate in the City of Valdosta, city police officers prove their worth once again by arresting a dangerous fugitive in our community.

    April 13, 2014

  • It just plain stinks

    After every rain event, the pungent smell of sewage can be detected around the rivers and streams of south Georgia, and Florida residents brace for more to float their way.

    April 13, 2014

  • Pennsylvania school stabbings: Why?

    The following editorial appeared in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on Thursday, April 10:

    April 11, 2014

  • European bans on emails unlikely in America

    Several European countries are banning work emails to employees before and after normal working hours, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., in an effort to curb the perceived abuse of employees by corporations.

    April 11, 2014

  • Strength of character

    It was an unusual friendship — a tiny 8-year old girl with long blonde hair and the 6’10” Michigan State basketball player.

    April 10, 2014

  • Daly’s return a boost for Valdosta

    Flashy, colorful and always a hit with the fans for his long drives and humble demeanor, John Daly’s return to Kinderlou Forest and the South Georgia Classic is a boon for Valdosta.

    April 9, 2014

  • Too many pinwheels

    April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month, with numerous volunteers assisting the Child Advocacy Center in placing pinwheels on the lawn of the Valdosta City Hall. Each pinwheel represents one child that was a victim of abuse in 2013. Volunteers placed 887 pinwheels in remembrance.

    April 8, 2014

Top News

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results