DBHDD providers in north Georgia recently welcomed 20 more graduates of the Beck Initiative, a clinical and educational program that focuses on cognitive therapy training and consultation for community mental health networks.
The training was conducted by faculty from the Aaron T. Beck Psychopathology Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania whose founder and namesake is widely recognized as the father of cognitive therapy and one of the world’s leading researchers in psychopathology. Participants engaged in workshops and hands-on training by working with people in recovery, including individuals with severe mental illness and substance use disorders, and people who experience chronic homelessness.
“The Beck Initiative has been transformative for our state,” said Monica Parker, director of DBHDD’s Division of Behavioral Health. “This evidence-based treatment model provides clinicians, case managers, and many others with tools they can use to not only effectively engage individuals in services, but also produce outcomes that lead to recovery.”
The department’s partnership with the Aaron Beck Center began three years ago with a pilot program in southwest Georgia. DBHDD provided funding to disseminate the Cognitive Training Recovery model across the state to community providers, as well as DBHDD hospital staff. Georgia State University’s Center of Excellence for Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health, a DBHDD partner whose goal is to develop and implement a sustainable System of Care that is individualized and driven by child and family needs, will continue training efforts.
“The training implementation has been successful and we are pleased that hundreds of people have participated and demonstrate a commitment to continuing to use the skills gained through the trainings,” said Parker.
The Aaron T. Beck Psychopathology Research Center at the University of Pennsylvania develops and evaluates treatments for psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia and suicide behavior.
Correction: The original story referred to the Aaron Beck Center incorrectly as the Aaron Beck Institute.
Donnie grew up in rural Trion, Georgia. He lived on a small farm where he enjoyed southern cooking, especially pinto beans with onion and cornbread which he still talks about regularly. In 1984, when his parents were no longer able to care for him, he was admitted to Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital.
He spent the next 27 years in various units at the hospital. In June of 2011, Donnie moved from to the Magnolia CLA in Summerville. Little did the staff know at that time the great gift they had received when this gentleman moved into his new home. Donnie had become dependent on a feeding tube and often needs oxygen to assist with his breathing. He had learned ways to deal with stress and also how to get people not to bother him. He would curse and spit. Despite his defenses, the staff at Magnolia fell in love with him instantly.
Over time his mental status was evaluated, and as much as he tried to shut people out they wanted to help him, to love him more, and for him to be happy. He was given a new medication, which seemed to have a positive effect overnight. He seemed more at peace with himself, and he doesn’t spit anymore. He still curses sometimes, but it’s usually with a smile. He hugs and smiles more, and he seems to love himself more.
Any staff that works with him can’t help but love him. He likes to give hugs now and he has become more comfortable in his home. His room is decorated with the things that are important to him. He loves money and Coca-Cola. No one knew these things about him when he moved into Magnolia CLA, but the caring staff was able to get him to open up and share his hopes, dreams, likes and dislikes. He doesn’t talk a lot, but the staff takes the time and sits with him, and even though he speaks in short or one word sentences, he will talk about things that make him happy. He tells staff what he needs or wants.
Donnie is considered medically fragile, but he often attends community functions and attended all of one of his housemate’s baseball games this spring. Donnie needed a caring home, and he found it at Magnolia CLA, but he has given the staff so much more.
On May 6, the Cobb Community Service Board (CSB) broke ground on a new behavioral health crisis center in Marietta. The center is expected to open by spring of 2015 and will provide easier access to high-quality services for Cobb and Douglas county residents. The center will offer 24/7 walk-in treatment and will house 24 stabilization beds, 4 transition-level beds and a 23-hour observation program.
The new center is part of Georgia’s increased focus on community-based behavioral health services. The addition of the Cobb crisis center and others across the state reflects the department’s commitment to serving people close to their homes and in the least restrictive setting possible. The facility will be supported by a $5.2 million annual investment from DBHDD.
“Thanks to funding provided for by Georgia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, the Cobb CSB’s new center will serve thousands of citizens in immediate need of mental health and/or addiction treatment services,” said Cobb CSB executive director Tod Citron.
Governor Nathan Deal and Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee joined DBHDD Commissioner Berry at the groundbreaking ceremony held at 1775 County Services Parkway in Marietta.
The Cobb and Douglas Community Service Boards provide mental health, developmental disability and substance abuse services to approximately 10,000 residents of Cobb and Douglas counties annually. For services call the Access Center at 770-422-0202.
On May 5, Commissioner Frank Berry, flanked by State Representatives Katie Dempsey (R-Rome) and Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) and Highland Rivers Health CEO Jason Bearden, announced a new substance abuse treatment facility to open in Jasper on Aug. 1. The program will serve people across 31 counties in north Georgia.
“DBHDD and our partners at Highland Rivers are focused on building community-based services that provide easy access to high-quality care across north Georgia,” said Berry. “The department is grateful for the continued support of the Georgia General Assembly, which makes it possible for us to meet the needs of the people we serve.”
The Highland Recovery Center will open at Highland Rivers’ outpatient clinic in Pickens County, which is being renovated to accommodate the new program. Highland Recovery will feature a 20-bed residential program for men—the first of its kind in north Georgia—and an outpatient treatment facility for both men and women. The new center will serve as a companion program to Highland Rivers’ Women’s Outreach in Rome.
“Highland Rivers Health is grateful for the vision, leadership and partnership of DBHDD and their recognition of the significant need for long term addiction treatment services in north Georgia,” said Bearden. “The new Highland Recovery Center will add to the growing continuum of comprehensive recovery services and supports for citizens with addictive disease.”
Nearly $350,000 in new investments will be used to remodel the current facility. The center has been given a $1.5 million budget for its first year of operations. Highland Rivers expects to staff Highland Recovery with approximately 25 new hires.