Crisis stabilization care facility opens in North Georgia

Facility to serve people with behavioral health and substance abuse disorders in the state

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FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. — Avita Community Partners announces the opening of a 16-bed crisis stabilization unit that will provide short-term residential psychiatric care and substance abuse detoxification for adults in Georgia.

“We are excited to offer this important service to the community,” said Cheryl Barnet, interim CEO, Avita Community Partners, a non-profit organization that serves persons with behavioral health, developmental disabilities and addictive diseases in North Georgia. “This is an attractive, state-of-the-art facility that will add to our continuum of services for persons with behavioral health care needs in our community.”

Located at 4331 Thurmond Tanner Parkway in Flowery Branch, Ga., the facility employs about 25 staff members, including psychiatrists, nurses, counselors, medical assistants, and health care technicians. Dr. Karim Gokal, a board-certified psychiatrist, serves as medical director of the CSU and Avita Community Partners.

“We applaud the efforts taken in opening the Avita Crisis Stabilization Unit to improve the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness, said Faye Taylor, president of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in Cumming, Ga. “The Avita CSU will help fill the gap in needed services in the North Georgia area.”

The Avita Crisis Stabilization Unit operates 24-hours a day, seven days a week. Short-term residential psychiatric crisis care and medical detoxification is provided in a safe, therapeutic environment. Program services include medical care, client education and counseling, as well as referral and linkage for follow-up care and other community services.

The opening of the Avita Crisis Stabilization Unit is part of Georgia’s efforts to expand access to community-based services for persons with behavioral health, developmental disabilities and addictive diseases.

“The Avita Crisis Stabilization Unit provides a cost-effective alternative to hospitalization with a focus on retaining connections to family and community,” said Frank E. Shelp, M.D., M.P.H., Commissioner, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. “This is a key part of a spectrum of services we are putting in place to serve people closer to home.”

Avita Community Partners will continue its partnership with the Northeast Georgia Medical Center’s Laurelwood facility in Gainesville to ensure coordination of services for individuals with behavioral health and addictive diseases who need inpatient care.

“We have had an excellent community partner in Avita for the last 10 plus years,” said Reese Daniel, business development manager, Laurelwood Hospital. “We are excited about the opening of the Crisis Stabilization Unit and look forward to our continued partnership in improving the quality of behavioral health care in our community.”

Avita Crisis Stabilization Unit clients have access to medical and counseling services, and linkage to an array of community services based on individual needs. Length of stay is flexible to meet individual needs and averages three to five days.

“People who have a mental illness (which can sometimes be compounded by substance abuse), require intensive care for success,” Barnet said. “We serve everyone based on their individual needs and recognize that people with co-occurring disorders need to have integrated care. We also recognize that people are different and need to be helped accordingly.”

Behavioral health professionals work with clients to help design plans of action to prevent future crises with education and support in nutrition, coping skills, relapse prevention, medication management, and the use of community resources. A key function of this program is to ensure that clients are linked to appropriate services and support when they return to their homes.