Garner lands mental health treatment center

Posted March 28, 2011

— A company that provides behavioral health services to adults and adolescents plans to open a treatment center in Garner and create 250 jobs, officials said Monday.

Memphis, Tenn.-based Strategic Behavioral Health moved forward with plans for the center only after state lawmakers removed a controversial route through Garner for N.C. Highway 540 from consideration by state transportation engineers.

The company plans to build a 92-bed residential treatment facility for troubled youth ages 6 to 17, President and Chief Executive Jim Shaheen said. The $12 million, 56,000-square-foot facility will employ 250 nurses, therapists, psychiatrists, counselors and support staff, he said.

Strategic Behavioral Health has a similar 72-bed facility for adolescents in Leland.

Patients usually stay at the treatment centers for four to six months, and families often visit to participate in therapy, Shaheen said.

"There usually isn't any (security) issue with the community. The kids aren't out and about in the community," he said, noting all treatment and education is handled inside the secure facility.

Construction of the Garner treatment center is expected to begin in May in the Greenfield Business Park off U.S. Highway 70, with the facility scheduled to open by June 2012.

Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said the treatment center's location in a business park, which also is home to trucking and flooring companies, and not near a residential area adds to the security.

"It will fit well because, if you do the research, they are proven in their locations elsewhere," Williams said. "There have not been problems, and I've already talked to the police chief. If problems do arise, they're going to be on top of it."

The mayor and police chief in Leland said teens occasionally run away from the Strategic Behavioral Health center there, but the cases are usually resolved quickly and without problem.

Some area psychologists who treat teens said the center is needed, noting that they often have to send their patients as far as Greensboro for in-patient programs.

Job market Garner lands mental health treatment center

Strategic Behavioral Health's decision to move forward with the Garner project came after recent legislation passed by the General Assembly that eliminated the so-called “red route” option for an extension of N.C. 540.

The state Department of Transportation said it had no plans to use the red route for the highway, but it needed to study the option to meet Army Corps of Engineers requirements for an environmental permit that would allow construction to begin on the "orange route" south of town.

Garner officials lobbied for the law barring study of the red route, saying the possibility of a highway through town was keeping companies like Strategic Behavioral Health from opening.

“As the red route issue surfaced in the middle of our land search and due diligence, it was the unified effort of the community and its leaders that convinced us to stay and hope that the route would be removed so that we could move forward with this project," Shaheen said. "We are pleased to be able to build and operate this facility in Garner, as the community leaders have made us feel very welcomed and supported.”

Williams called the mental health treatment center "the type of high-end business that will be a long-term community and state asset."


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  • jetset Mar 28, 2011

    Blackdog....the patient's insurance. Could be something like Blue Cross but I would be willing to bet my paycheck it will be Medicaid that pays for this. Time will tell.

  • jetset Mar 28, 2011

    I thought it might be good to read up on this Strategic Behavioral Health complex that is coming to Garner. It is for children 12-17 years old with depression, ADHD, mood disorders (bipolar) and oppositional disorders. In other words, lots of these children are messed up and need in house help. The schools are loaded down with these students. They can't be handled in the schools (well, maybe with kid gloves..haha) and the parents(again, haha) can't handle them or won't handle them, whichever comes first. Alot of these are out of control kids whose environment is absolutely horrible. They have had no raising to speak of and some of their parents are adult "parents" trying to act like teenagers, giving no guidance whatsoever. So therefore, this place will try and straighten out this nightmare. Ha!! Very expensive to "somebody" and I can promise you that it will be YOU~!

  • blackdog Mar 28, 2011

    I wonder who will pay this private company to treat these patients ?

  • Baybee Doll Mar 28, 2011

    Wonder if they will have an eating disorders unit. The only places that do are over an hour away from the Triangle area with no transportation available. Ridiculous.

  • jetset Mar 28, 2011

    Yes, and Strategic Behavioral Health is in it to make hand over fist in profit too. It is NOT about the patient, I can assure you. Just wait and see. Sheesh......

  • ArtiesLiver Mar 28, 2011

    deebastet "Do hope this is not a privately owned facility. Recently there have been articles as to how unfair these facilities can be and the Judges that put children there."

    Did you bother to read the story, or just the headline? The story says Memphis, Tenn.-based Strategic Behavioral Health
    is the company opening the center. Sounds like a private company to me.

  • deebastet Mar 28, 2011

    How long do I need to wait to see my post?

  • deebastet Mar 28, 2011

    Do hope this is not a privately owned facility. Recently there have been articles as to how unfair these facilities can be and the Judges that put children there.

  • jetset Mar 28, 2011

    I am sure the local hospitals are happy to see this open and I do understand why. However, these people still can't be "cured" overnight and some never will be cured. It is a burden on the State of NC to give these people "mental health" counseling. Inpatient treatment, whatever, it will still be a revolving door until the day the patient dies or enters prison or a place like Dorothea Dix for constant care. Personally, I think some of the counselors are worse off than the patients. What a sham and a shame.

  • EMSRN4LIFE Mar 28, 2011

    I'm very glad to see this facility opening. I have worked in a local Emergency Dept. for the last 18 years and know how much this will benefit our community. It will be a blessing to those people who sit in the E.D. waiting to be seen for hours due to beds being held by psych patients that have no place to be transferred to. These patients really back the department up for not just hours but sometimes days. And don't even say it... we can't just kick them out in the street. Some people don't realize the mess that was made when Dorothea Dix closed all those beds!