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Georgia Mental Health Services Guide

Many people don't realize that publicly-funded mental health services are available in their state. People looking for free or low-cost counseling often think their only options are counselors in private practice and don't know that publicly-funded providers in their communities may also offer counseling services. 

 

While state-based programs are not for everyone, they are often a great place to start for people who face geographic or financial barriers to therapy. Intake specialists at community mental health programs can help people learn whether they qualify for state-funded services and can refer people who don't qualify to other low-cost programs that may be able to meet their needs.

 


 

When Should You Go to a State Mental Health Program?

Few mental health providers outside of those in the public sector are able to immediately serve people in crisis. This usually makes community mental health programs the best option for anyone who is having a mental health crisis and needs help right away. The people who answer local crisis lines provide immediate support and caring attention as they help people determine the best response to a crisis, whether it's inpatient treatment or a counseling appointment.


In general, community mental health programs serve as alternative providers for people with severe mental health conditions who lack the means to access services in the private sector. Georgia makes counseling and other public mental health services available to people with more moderate mental health conditions as long as those conditions impact their functioning on some level and as long as enough counselors are available. Georgia prioritizes access to state mental health services for people who are at risk of hospitalization, so when demand is high, county programs are more likely to refer people with moderate conditions to other programs.


Overall, Georgia's central Crisis and Access Line, regional DBHDD offices, and local CSBs are a great starting point for anyone wanting to find out more about local mental health services in Georgia. Calling is free, and the people who answer are aware of local alternatives for people who don't qualify for CSB services or when there is a wait list. People who try these tools and still aren't finding what they need can search for free or low-cost local counseling providers on OpenCounseling.com or try affordable online counseling with BetterHelp (a  sponsor of OpenCounseling).


Many people in Georgia don't get the mental health care they need. Only 39 percent of Georgians with mental health conditions get treatment for them. Finding mental health care can be harder for people living in rural areas who aren't aware that they have mental health resources nearby. If you're living in Georgia and need mental health care, it's worth taking the time to contact a local CSB or regional office to learn more—the help you need may only be a short distance away.

 

Who Is Eligible for Public Mental Health Services in Georgia?

Like state-funded community mental health programs across the country, Georgia's state program prioritizes access for people with serious mental health conditions that impair their functioning and that put them at risk of psychiatric hospitalization. Priority clients include people with recent histories of inpatient mental health treatment, criminal justice system involvement, or homelessness. People with less severe conditions can still qualify for CSB services when local programs have the funding and staff to serve a wider client base. 


To be eligible for adult mental health services at a Georgia CSB, people must have a mental health condition listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that affects their ability to function. Conditions listed in the DSM include depression and anxiety disorders. 


People with moderate mental health conditions may be able to receive counseling services at a local CSB if there are spaces available and they meet other eligibility criteria. If you're not sure whether you qualify for counseling at your local CSB, you can call and talk to intake staff who can provide more information over the phone or set up an in-person eligibility and intake assessment.


People who meet the clinical eligibility requirements for public mental health services in Georgia do not have to meet separate financial eligibility requirements to receive services. Depending on their resources, people who are otherwise eligible for mental health services at a CSB may be able to pay for those services using Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, or sliding scale fees. People who meet financial eligibility criteria and are members of a priority population may qualify for DBHDD funding and receive CSB services for free or for a significantly reduced rate.

 

How Can You Find Out More About Local Programs in Georgia?

The best way to find out whether you qualify for counseling or other services at a Georgia CSB is to call your local program directly, call your regional DBHDD office, or call the statewide mental health crisis and information line. 


The Georgia Crisis and Access Line can be reached at (800) 715-4225. The line operates 24/7 and is always available. The staff who answer the phone lines can guide people through crises, identify local services, make referrals, and help people set up appointments.


Not only do the six DBHDD Field Offices oversee, monitor, coordinate, and develop mental health programs in their respective regions, they also act as the first point of contact for people who have questions about what services are available in their region and whether they are eligible. The six field offices serve several counties each:

 

Georgia's Mental Health Clinics and Access Numbers


  • Region 1 Field Office: Serving Banks, Bartow, Catoosa, Chattooga, Cherokee, Cobb, Dade, Dawson, Douglas, Fannin, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Gilmer, Gordon, Habersham, Hall, Haralson, Hart, Lumpkin, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, Walker, White, and Whitfield Counties


  • Region 2 Field Office: Serving Baldwin, Barrow, Bibb, Burke, Clarke, Columbia, Elbert, Emanuel, Glascock, Greene, Hancock, Jackson, Jasper, Jefferson, Jenkins, Jones, Lincoln, Madison, McDuffie, Monroe, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Putnam, Richmond, Screven, Taliaferro, Twiggs, Walton, Warren, Washington, Wilkes, and Wilkinson Counties


  • Region 3 Field Office: Serving Clayton, Dekalb, Fulton, Gwinnett, Newton and Rockdale Counties


  • Region 4 Field Office: Serving Baker, Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Calhoun, Colquitt, Cook, Decatur, Dougherty, Early, Echols, Grady, Irwin, Lanier, Lee, Lowndes, Miller, Mitchell, Seminole, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Turner, and Worth Counties


  • Region 5 Field Office: Serving Appling, Atkinson, Bacon, Bleckley, Brantley, Bryan, Bulloch, Camden, Candler, Charlton, Chatham, Clinch, Coffee, Dodge, Effingham, Evans, Glynn, Jeff Davis, Johnson, Laurens, Liberty, Long, McIntosh, Montgomery, Pierce, Pulaski, Tattnall, Telfair, Toombs, Treutlen, Ware, Wayne, Wheeler and Wilcox Counties


  • Region 6 Field Office: Serving Butts, Carroll, Chattahoochee, Clay, Coweta, Crawford, Crisp, Dooly, Fayette, Harris, Heard, Henry, Houston, Lamar, Macon, Marion, Meriwether, Muscogee, Peach, Pike, Quitman, Randolph, Schley, Spalding, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taylor, Troup, Upson and Webster Counties


If you want to learn more about services in your region, you can contact your regional DBHDD field office by telephone:


  • Region 1 Field Office: (678) 947-2818 or (877) 217-4462
  • Region 2 Field Office: (706) 792-7741 or (877) 551-4897
  • Region 3 Field Office: (404) 244-5050 or (404) 244-5056
  • Region 4 Field Office: (229) 225-5099 or (877) 683-8557
  • Region 5 Field Office: (912) 303-1670
  • Region 6 Field Office: (706) 565-7835


In addition to calling the Georgia Crisis and Access Line or a DBHDD Field Office, you can learn about local services, eligibility requirements, and availability by contacting your CSB directly:


  • Advantage Behavioral Health Systems: Serving Barrow, Clarke, Elbert, Greene, Jackson, Madison, Morgan, Oconee, Oglethorpe, and Walton Counties 
  • Note: Oconee, Oglethorpe, Madison, and Morgan Counties do not have clinics; residents in these counties should visit neighboring county locations for services.
    • Central Service Access Line: (855) 333-9544
    • Crisis Center: (706) 389-6767 or (855) 333-9544
    • Barrow County Behavioral Health Clinic: (770) 868-4150
    • Clarke County Behavioral Health Pavilion: (706) 389-6767 or (855) 333-9544
    • Elbert County Behavioral Health Center: (706) 213-2048
    • Greene County Behavioral Health Center: (706) 453-2301
    • Jackson County Behavioral Health Clinic: (706) 367-5258
    • Walton County Behavioral Health Clinic: (770) 267-8302


  • Aspire Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Services: Serving Baker, Calhoun, Dougherty, Early, Lee, Miller, Terrell, and Worth Counties
    • Main number: (229) 430-4140
    • Aspire Behavioral Health Crisis Navigation Center: (229) 430-1842
    • Aspire Behavioral Health Comfort Zone: (229) 430-1360/1361
    • Aspire Behavioral Health Crisis Stabilization Program: (229) 430-6005
    • Calhoun County Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic: (229) 725-3333
    • Dougherty County Outpatient Behavioral Health Services: (229) 430-4140
    • Early County Outpatient Behavioral Health Clinic: (229) 724-2206
    • Miller County Mental Health Department: (229) 758-2068 or (229) 758-3344
    • Baker, Dougherty, Lee, and Terrell, and Worth County Clinics: (229) 430-4140 


  • Avita Community Partners: Serving Banks, Dawson, Forsyth, Franklin, Habersham, Hall, Hart, Lumpkin, Rabun, Stephens, Towns, Union, and White Counties
    • Main number: (678) 513-5700 or (800) 525-8751
    • Banks County Behavioral Health Services: (706) 894-3700
    • Dawson County Behavioral Health Services: (678) 866-8777
    • Forsyth County Behavioral Health Services: (678) 341-3840
    • Franklin County and Hart County Behavioral Health Services: (706) 376-4002
    • Habersham County Behavioral Health Services: (706) 894-3700
    • Hall County Adult Behavioral Health Services: (678) 207-2900
    • Hall County Crisis Stabilization Unit: (678) 960-2700 or (855) 302-8482
    • Lumpkin County Behavioral Health Services: (706) 864-6822
    • Rabun County Behavioral Health Services: (706) 894-3700
    • Stephens County Behavioral Health Services: (706) 282-4542
    • Towns County and Union County Behavioral Health Services: (706) 745-5911
    • White County Behavioral Health Services: (706) 348-4060


  • Clayton Center Community Service Board: Serving Clayton County
    • Main number: (770) 478-2280
    • Centralized Scheduling: (844) 438-2778
    • Battle Creek Adult Counseling Services: (770) 478-1099
    • Children, Young Adults, and Family Services: (770) 473-2640


  • Cobb-Douglas Community Service Board: Serving Cobb and Douglas Counties
    • Main number: (770) 429-5000
    • Central Access and Appointment Line: (770) 422-0202
    • Behavioral Health Crisis Center: (404) 794-4857
    • Cobb Outpatient Services: (770) 514-2422


  • CSB of Middle Georgia: Serving Bleckley, Burke, Dodge, Emanuel, Glascock, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Laurens, Montgomery, Pulaski, Screven, Telfair, Treutlen, Wheeler,  and Wilcox Counties
    • Main number: (478) 272-1190
    • After-hours numbers: (800) 715-4225 or (478) 275-6820
    • Adult Services Access Unit: (478) 275-6811
    • Burke County Outpatient Clinic: (706) 437-6863
    • Dublin Adult Outpatient Clinic: (478) 272-1190
    • Eastman Outpatient Clinic: (478) 448-1040 x4313
    • Emanuel County Outpatient Clinic: (478) 289-2530
    • Screven County Outpatient Clinic: (912) 564-5778 or (912) 565-7825
    • Quentin Price MD Crisis Stabilization Unit: (478) 275-6811


  • DeKalb Community Service Board: Serving DeKalb County
    • Main number: (404) 294-3836
    • Central Access Line: (404) 892-4646
    • Crisis Support Line: (404) 892-4646
    • DeKalb Regional Crisis Center: (404) 294-0499
    • Clifton Springs Mental Health Center: (404) 243-9500
    • Kirkwood Mental Health: (404) 370-7474
    • North DeKalb Mental Health Center: (770) 457-5867
    • Winn Way Mental Health Center: (404) 508-7700


  • Fulton County DBHDD: Serving Fulton County
    • Main number: (404) 613-7013
    • Center for Health and Rehabilitation: (404) 665-8600 or (404) 613-1650
    • Adamsville Regional Health Center: (404) 613-4215
    • North Fulton Service Center: (404) 665-8650 or (404) 613-5757
    • South Fulton Service Center: (404) 665-8700


  • Gateway Behavioral Health Services: Serving Bryan, Camden, Chatham, Effingham, Glynn, Liberty, Long, and McIntosh Counties
    • Main number: (866) 557-9955
    • Access Line: (866) 557-9955
    • Behavioral Health Crisis Center: (866) 557-9955
    • Bryan County Outpatient Clinic: (912) 653-4151
    • Camden County Outpatient Clinic: (912) 576-4357
    • Chatham County Outpatient Clinic: (866) 557-9955
    • Effingham County Outpatient Clinic: (912) 826-7469
    • Glynn County, Liberty County, Long County, and McIntosh County Outpatient Clinics: (866) 557-9955


  • Georgia Pines CSB: Serving Colquitt, Decatur, Grady, Mitchell, Seminole, and Thomas Counties
    • Main number: (229) 225-5208 or (229) 225-4335
    • Scheduling Line: (844) 227-2413
    • Behavioral Health Crisis Center: (229) 225-3917
    • Colquitt County Mental Health: (229) 891-7375



  • Highland Rivers Health: Serving Bartow, Cherokee, Fannin, Floyd, Gilmer, Gordon, Haralson, Murray, Paulding, Pickens, Polk, and Whitfield Counties
    • Main number: (706) 270-5000
    • Appointments: (800) 729-5700
    • Bartow Recovery and Wellness Center: (770) 387-3538
    • Cherokee Recovery and Wellness Center: (770) 704-1600
    • Floyd Crisis Stabilization Unit: (706) 314-0019
    • Floyd Recovery and Wellness Center: (706) 233-9023
    • Gilmer and Fannin Recovery and Wellness Center: (706) 635-2739
    • Paulding Recovery and Wellness Center: (678) 567-0920
    • Pickens Recovery and Wellness Center: (706) 253-1112
    • Polk Crisis Stabilization Unit: (770) 748-0030
    • Polk Recovery and Wellness Center: (770) 748-2225
    • Whitfield and Murray Recovery and Wellness Center: (706) 270-5100
    • Whitfield Crisis Stabilization Unit: (706) 270-5107


  • Legacy Behavioral Health Services: Serving Ben Hill, Berrien, Brooks, Cook, Echols, Irwin, Lanier, Lowndes, Tift, and Turner Counties
    • Main number: (229) 671-6100
    • Crisis Center: (229) 671-3500
    • Berrien County Mental Health: (229) 494-9416
    • Cook County Mental Health: (229) 896-4559
    • Lowndes Adult Mental Health Center: (229) 671-6170
    • Tift Mental Health Center: (229) 391-2300


  • Lookout Mountain Community Services: Serving Catoosa, Chattooga, Dade, and Walker Counties
    • Main number: (706) 638-5580
    • Fort Oglethorpe Outpatient Clinic (Catoosa): (706) 861-3387
    • LaFayette Outpatient Clinic (Walker): (706) 638-5591
    • Summervile Outpatient Clinic (Chattooga): (706) 857-5441
    • Trenton Outpatient Clinic (Dade): (706) 956-5526


  • McIntosh Trail CSB: Serving Butts, Fayette, Henry, Lamar, Pike, Spalding, and Upson Counties
    • Main number: (770) 358-8250
    • Care Connection: (770) 358-5252
    • Butts County Counseling Center: (770) 358-5252 x10827
    • Fayette Counseling Center: (770) 358-5252 x10811
    • Henry County Counseling Center: (770) 358-5252 x11626
    • Lamar County Counseling and Peer Center: (770) 358-5252 x10006
    • Pine Woods Behavioral Health Crisis Center: (770) 358-8338
    • Spalding County Behavioral Health Center: (770) 358-5252 x10522
    • Upson County Counseling Center: (770) 358-5252 x10402


  • Middle Flint Behavioral HealthCare: Serving Crisp, Dooly, Macon, Marion, Schley, Sumter, Taylor, and Webster Counties
    • Main number: (229) 815-5454
    • Information and referral line: (229) 931-6988
    • Crisp Community Mental Health Center (Cordele): (229) 276-2367 
    • Middle Flint Outpatient Center (Americus): (229) 931-2504


  • New Horizons Behavioral Health: Serving Chattahoochee, Clay, Harris, Muscogee, Quitman, Randolph, Stewart, and Talbot Counties 
    • Main number: (706) 596-5500
    • Central Intake Unit (Columbus): (706) 596-5500
    • Harris County Mental Health Center: (706) 628-4740
    • Randolph/Clay Behavioral Health: (229) 366-0906
    • Jasper County Mental Health: (478) 445-5120


  • Oconee Center CSB: Serving Baldwin, Hancock, Jasper, Putnam, Washington, and Wilkinson Counties
    • Main number: (478) 445-4721
    • Center Point Adult Mental Health Clinic (Milledgeville): (478) 445-4721
    • The Point Adult Mental Health Clinic (Sandersville) (478) 553-2424
    • New Beginning Outpatient Clinic (Sparta): (706) 444-1037
    • Jasper County Mental Health Scheduling: (478) 445-3201


  • Pathways Center: Serving Carroll, Coweta, Heard, Troup, and Meriwether Counties
    • Main number: (706) 845-4045 or (888) 247-9048
    • Carroll County Behavioral Health Clinic: (770) 836-6678
    • Coweta County Behavioral Health Clinic: (678) 423-4610
    • Heard County Behavioral Health Clinic: (706) 675-6399
    • Meriwether County Behavioral Health Clinic: (706) 672-1118
    • Spalding County Behavioral Health Clinic: (770) 229-3407
    • Troup County Behavioral Health Clinic: (706) 845-4054


  • Phoenix Health Center: Serving Crawford, Houston, and Peach Counties
    • Main number: (478) 988-1222
    • Warner Robins location: (478) 988-1222
    • Fort Valley location: (478) 825-6499


  • Pineland Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities: ServingAppling, Bulloch, Candler, Evans, Jeff Davis, Tattnall, Toombs, and Wayne Counties
    • Main number: (912) 764-6906
    • Access to Care Line: (800) 746-3526
    • Appling Counseling Center: (912) 367-4614
    • Bulloch/Evans Counseling: (912) 764-9868
    • Candler Counseling Center: (912) 685-3317
    • John's Place Crisis Stabilization Unit (Statesboro): (912) 764-6129
    • Tattnall Counseling: (912) 557-6794
    • Toombs Counseling Center: (912) 537-9316
    • Wayne Counseling Center: (912) 427-9338


  • River Edge Behavioral Health: Serving Baldwin, Bibb, Jones, Monroe, Putnam, Twiggs and Wilkinson Counties
    • Main number: (478) 803-7600
    • River Edge Crisis Service Center: (478) 451-2797
    • River Edge Recovery Center: (478) 803-7600
    • Baldwin County Outpatient Services: (478) 451-2700
    • The Center for Health and Rehabilitation: (404) 665-8600
    • Macon-Bibb County Outpatient Services: (478) 803-7600
    • Monroe County Outpatient Services: (478) 803-7602
    • North Fulton Service Center: (404) 665-8650
    • South Fulton Service Center: (404) 665-8700


  • Serenity Behavioral Health System: Serving Columbia, Lincoln, McDuffie, Richmond, Taliaferro, Warren, and Wilkes Counties
    • Main number: (706) 432-4800
    • Scheduling: (706) 750-0200
    • Augusta Behavioral Health Clinic: (706) 432-4800
    • Thomson Behavioral Health Clinic: (706) 595-2739
    • Wilkes Behavioral Health Clinic: (706) 678-1973


  • Unison Behavioral Health: Serving Atkinson, Bacon, Brantley, Charlton, Clinch, Coffee, Pierce, and Ware Counties
    • Main number: (912) 449-7100 
    • Access line: (800) 342-8168
    • Bacon County Behavioral Health Services: (912) 632-1111
    • Brantley County Behavioral Health Services: (912) 462-5849 x8611
    • Charlton County Behavioral Health Services: (912) 496-7460 x6315
    • Clinch County Behavioral Health Services: (912) 487-5234 x6610
    • Coffee County Behavioral Health Services: (912) 389-4188 x8612
    • St. Illa Crisis Stabilization Program: (912) 449-7200 x8607
    • Ware County Behavioral Health Services: (912) 449-7100 x8600


  • View Point Health: Serving Gwinnett, Newton, and Rockdale Counties
    • Main number: (678) 209-2411
    • Gwinnett County Adult Crisis Stabilization Unit: (678) 209-2460
    • Lawrenceville Center: (678) 209-2411
    • Newton Center: (678) 209-2600
    • Norcross Center: (678) 209-2745
    • Rockdale Center: (678) 209-2655


Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are another option for public mental health care in Georgia. These federally-funded programs provide medical and mental health services to people in underserved communities. Their purpose is to provide high-quality coordinated care to people with complex needs and to link behavioral healthcare with primary medical care. Each FQHC accepts Medicaid and Medicare and offers sliding scale fees to people without insurance. You can search for FQHCs using the online search tool on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services website. 

 

How Does Georgia's Public Mental Health System Work?

In the 1960s, Americans started thinking differently about how to treat mental health conditions. New federal laws required state and local governments to establish community mental health programs as alternatives to institutionalization for people with serious mental illness. These programs help people maintain stability and independence and continue their recovery at home. Community mental health services include case management, crisis intervention, and counseling.


Soon after Congress passed the 1963 Community Mental Health Act, Georgia started founding community programs under the direction of mental health advocate Rosalynn Carter, then under Governor Jimmy Carter. However, Georgia lagged behind other states in establishing a statewide community mental health network. It wasn't until the 1990s that Georgia adopted its current system and developed regional planning boards to ensure service continuity across the state. 


In 1999, the Supreme Court ruled that it is discriminatory to keep people with mental health conditions in state-run institutions when they could function in the community with the right support. By the time The Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigated Georgia's state hospitals in 2007, the state was still not abiding by the 1999 ruling and was sued by the Justice Department to get more patients out of hospitals and into community programs. 


Georgia has made significant improvements to its program in the last decade, but still lags behind other states in mental health services. The Kaiser Family Foundation ranks Georgia among the lowest of all 50 states in per capita spending on mental health and Mental Health America ranks Georgia 44 out of 51 states (including the District of Columbia) for access to mental health care.

Like most states, Georgia governs its public mental health programs at the state level but runs separate county programs. Georgia's county behavioral health programs are called Community Service Boards (CSBs). A few counties in Georgia have their own unique CSB, while most Georgia CSBs serve several counties each. There are 25 CSBs for Georgia's 159 counties.


The state agency that oversees Georgia's public mental health system is the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). Six regional DBHDD offices help coordinate, monitor, and oversee publicly-funded mental health programs in their regions. 


Georgia's county mental health boards directly provide state-funded mental health care. Each CSB provides essential mental health safety net services including assessment, crisis stabilization, case management, psychosocial rehabilitation, and counseling services.


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