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Macon mental health recovery center plans expansion

After years of being over capacity, River Edge Recovery Center is finally getting more space for patients

MACON, Ga. — After 42 years of providing care for people struggling with addiction, mental illness and developmental disabilities, River Edge Recovery Center on Fulton Mill Road in Macon is finally getting a much needed upgrade.

The crisis stabilization unit provides a wide variety of personalized mental health services for adults and children ages 5 to 14.

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"Clients come in to us in a behavioral health or substance abuse crisis," said River Edge's director of nursing Michele Fulcher. "We work with them to do do our best to stabilize that crisis and invest them in a program of recovery." 

Throughout her nine years at River Edge, Fulcher says that high-quality care remains a top priority. 

However, limited space prevents the center from helping as many people as possible.

The River Edge Recovery Center currently has 28 beds for adults and 16 for children.

"We remain at capacity," said Fulcher. "Our beds are full. We have clients waiting in emergency rooms, in outpatient care for bed availability."

According to the Treatment Advocacy Center, the number of psychiatric hospital beds dropped from 1,187 in 2010 to 954 in 2016.

Fulcher says this drop put pressure on crisis units like River Edge to pick up the slack left by regional hospitals.

Additionally, waiting for available space puts patients in serious need of care at greater risk. 

"If we're not able to reach them when they're ready, sometimes that readiness may not come again for a very long time and with increased consequences," said Fulcher. 

That's why River Edge decided to add a new facility right next to its current recovery center.

The new building will provide 53 additional beds in addition to better lighting and larger rooms. 

"The need is not going to go away anytime soon," said Fulcher. "We want to be able to work with those people and help them establish a foundation that they need to be able to get on with their life."

The recovery center is still finalizing plans and raising money, but hopes to start construction before the end of 2019.

To learn more about River Edge Recovery Center, visit their website

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