HomeNewsHealth, Science & TechnologyOpen house celebrates arrival of new Augusta mental health center

Open house celebrates arrival of new Augusta mental health center

Author

Date

The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network celebrated the arrival of its Augusta Respite and Wellness Center on Thursday, a long-anticipated event for locals who struggle with mental health or addiction.

The Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, or GMHCN, is a statewide nonprofit organization devoted to supporting those living with behavioral health challenges and in recovery from substance abuse. It pursues its mission largely through several peer support initiatives, including mentoring, coaching and peer support specialist training programs, as well as the establishment of Peer Support, Wellness and Respite Centers.

These are facilities that provide support for those in recovery through scheduled wellness activities, as well as offer free emergency lodging for those in mental health crises. The GMHCN has five such centers throughout Georgia, in the counties of Bartow, Dekalb, Colquitt, White and now Richmond.

The Respite Center is funded through a contract with Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. It’s open 24 hours, and is designated for anyone aged 18 or older who “self-identifies as someone with mental health” issues, who for any reason needs a place to stay, for up to seven days at no charge. Occupants are offered resources, access to the wellness and recovery activities and even a $70 allowance to shop for groceries.

The center also operates a 24-hour “warmline” for those seeking peer support over the phone.

“Everyone that works here is a certified peer specialist,” said Roslind Hayes, Statewide Director of Peer Support and Training. “It really is that value of lived experience. We’re able to say, ‘I get it,’ because I’m not just coming to you from a book, but I’ve been there and done that and I can walk with you as you get to the other side of what it is that you’re experiencing.”

Common area at the 24-hour Augusta Respite Center, operated by the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network. Staff photo by Skyler Q. Andrews.

The nonprofit celebrated the new Richmond County Wellness & Respite Center on May 20 at its Center Avenue location. open-house featured catering, live music, a silent auction and free tours of both the wellness and respite centers.

The “Happy Room,” one of the lodging rooms at the Augusta Wellness and Respite Center. Staff photo by Skyler Q. Andrews.

It is the first and currently the only center actually owned by the GMHCN. The ribbon-cutting for the center was back in December of 2020, shortly after the property was donated by the Friendship Community Center.

The renovation process proved its own hurdle, however. The two-story building on the property that is now the Respite Center used to be a thrift store, and was full of old furniture, secondhand goods and debris that needed to be removed.

The Respite Center building was once a thrift shop before the GMHCN had it renovated. Staff photo by Skyler Q. Andrews.

“We had a big estate sale to try to get rid of all of the junk that was in here,” said Hayes. “It is a long, long, long process. I wish we had the before and after pictures. Because it just really is unbelievable transformation.”

The Augusta Peer Support, Wellness and Respite Center is located at 1720 Central Ave. For more information about the Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network, visit its website at www.gmhcn.org.

Skyler Q. Andrews is a staff reporter covering education in Columbia County and business-related topics for The Augusta Press. Reach him at [email protected].

1 COMMENT

Recent posts

Recent comments

Juliann McCraney on Column: Faith: Ups and downs
Robert Schloesser on Saga with Gold Cross EMS continues
Thomas Yarbrough on Garnett Johnson: In his own words
Tedd Antonacci on OPINION: Letter to the editor
Charmain Brackett on Reoccurring Members
Charmain Brackett on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Russell Smeak on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Trudy Edwards on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Gay Wright on Reoccurring Members
Russell Smeak on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Charmain Brackett on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Charmain Brackett on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Russell Smeak on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Thomas Plowden on Short Getaways: Edisto Beach
Charmain Brackett on Man struck by train Thursday
Thomas Yarbrough on Man struck by train Thursday
Tedd Antonacci on Man struck by train Thursday
Dennis Perry on FAITH: Our Only Hope
Robert Turbyfill on Column: Serene18 – take two
Leonard Zimmerman Jr on In The Kitchen With Vera: Oh Honey
Tedd Antonacci on Bomb threat suspect in custody
Frank Bush on FAITH: A Great Lady
Judy Wheeler on FAITH: A Great Lady
Robert Green on Kemp signs tax cut bill
Dan Barnett on FAITH: The Turtle
William Speer on Whither Ukraine?
Sherri Jones Rivers on FAITH: The Turtle
Judy Wheeler on FAITH: The Turtle
Doug Herman on Whither Ukraine?
Phillip Williams on Column: Electing judges
John Mulherin on Column: Electing judges
Sarah Scott on Column: Electing judges
Thomas Yarbrough on XPR Augusta Concerts Canceled
Bill Lesshafft on XPR Augusta Concerts Canceled
Amanda Main on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Tedd Antonacci on XPR Augusta Concerts Canceled
Rev. Bill Harrell on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Jackie VOSS on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Penny Danner on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Rabbi David Sirull on FAITH: The Covid Effect
Sheila Sta