ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) – A major mental health service in Albany is expanding. Aspire Behavioral Health opened its new outreach center on William Jr. Street.
Coordinators said this project has been in the works now for about five years. They hope this new location and expansion will help serve even more people.
The 14,000-square-foot building will be home to all of Aspire’s programs for kids and young adults. The need has grown because, during the pandemic, many people stopped reaching out for help.
After outgrowing their other locations, Executive Director Dana Glass said she’s hoping this will give them the space to create a one-stop shop.
“If you’re struggling with a mental health disorder, you’re not alone. We’ve seen an increase of people entering the system at these high points of care like our crisis system emergency departments or jails, that’s not where we want people to begin their journeys,” said Glass.
Sensory rooms, gaming rooms, rooms for nutrition, computers, school and work. Glass said the pandemic really pushed the need for expansion. Wanting to also create an environment that is welcoming.
Deputy Director Lisa Oosterveen was key in creating this environment, trying to eliminate the stigma around mental health.
“That’s one of the important things about this facility in itself. If you look around, you notice there’s nothing clinical about it,” said Oosterveen.
Experts said it’s critical to provide help for someone in the early stages of their crisis. That’s why they’ll have case managers go out to communities and connect them with the resources they need.
They hope this expansion is just one step forward in reducing the stigma around mental health, starting new programs and giving people a safe place to learn about how to cope and get better.
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