In 1971, the state of Georgia created Unison Behavioral Health to provide mental health, substance abuse and developmental disabilities support services to the residents of eight counties in southeast Georgia. With facilities in Coffee, Atkinson, Bacon, Pierce, Ware, Clinch, Charlton, and Brantley Counties, Unison Behavioral Health is a comprehensive network of care. Until 2012, Georgia’s Unison Behavioral Health was known as Satilla Community Services, and though they share a name, this organization is not affiliated with Unison Behavioral Health Group of Ohio.
Since 1995, Unison has offered long-term residential treatment for women and their children at its Garden Gate Residential Treatment Center and a co-ed 30-day detox and residential treatment program at its St. Illa facility, both of which are located in the city of Waycross—a small town near the Okefenokee Swamp. Unison also provides outpatient substance abuse services in each of its eight locations.
Accommodations and Food
The Garden Gate residential accommodations are a collection of 14 apartment units that each house one woman and her dependent children. The apartments are in a leafy suburb on the edge of Winona Park. The basic units have fully-equipped kitchens and residents are responsible for their own cooking and cleaning. All treatment groups are held on-site.
The site also hosts a therapeutic childcare center, and school-aged children attend nearby public schools. Residents can have cell phones and may use the facility computer lab for job search activities. While clients are not permitted to keep cars at the facility, family members and case managers often drive residents to work and to other off-site appointments.
Treatment and Staff
Residents stay at Garden Gate from six months to a year. There are two phases of treatment: the first is a stabilization which requires residents to attend regular and frequent treatment groups. Women attend group therapy Monday through Friday from 8 am to 1 pm and have individual therapy in the afternoons. Residents must attend a minimum of 25 hours of treatment activities each week.
In the second phase, residents focus on obtaining employment. Their case-managers help place them in a supportive community employment program for further job skills training. Clients can use the facility computer lab to search for jobs and receive referrals to GED programs in the area. During phase two, all treatment schedules are adjusted to accommodate work schedules.
The treatment team includes MFTs, LCSWs and LPCs who use the Matrix Model, Motivational Interviewing (MI) and the Trauma Recovery Model. Therapists are experienced treating co-occurring disorders and refer residents who need medication for mental health diagnoses to Unison’s psychiatrist in the Ware office.
While residents are not required to attend 12-step meetings, Unison understands the value of peer support offered by the 12-step framework and encourages clients to attend meetings and use them and as a component of their aftercare plan.
Once they progress to phase two, residents can apply for overnight passes to visit family and attend recreational outings such as trips to the nearby beach. For aftercare, many of Garden Gate’s alumni step down in treatment intensity and enroll in one of Unison’s eight outpatient locations.
For over 20 years, Unison Behavioral Health has provided substance abusing women and their children with treatment and housing in its Garden Gate Residential Treatment Center. Its on-site daycare center and additional supportive programs through the affiliated network of branches ensure that women seeking treatment and recovery support are able to provide their families with stability while they recover and improve their employability and life skills.
Unison Behavioral Health
Garden Gate Residential Treatment Center
852 Tiffany Ln
Waycross, GA 31503
Unison Behavioral Health’s Garden Gate Women’s Residential Treatment Center Cost: Free of charge to those who qualify. Reach Unison Behavioral Health by phone at (800) 342-8168. Find Unison Behavioral Health on Facebook
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