Officials broke ground on a new major mental health facility in Hoover on Wednesday and plan to begin construction on a facility in Madison County before the end of the year.
The new facility, Longleaf Wellness Center, will be a partial inpatient and intensive outpatient program with a capacity of 60 clients. The facility will be located next to the Birmingham Recovery Center at International Park off Acton Road.
The Birmingham Recovery Center, an outpatient drug and alcohol addiction treatment program, opened in the summer of 2021 and quickly identified an additional need for outpatient mental health services.
“Mental health and substance use disorder treatment options have been extremely limited in our state for far too long,” said Thomas Harris, president of the Birmingham Recovery Center. “Longleaf will be an integral part of increasing the availability and accessibility of treatment resources in Alabama, something my family and I are very passionate about.”
Colin Harris, managing director of the Birmingham Recovery Center and son of Thomas Harris, helped establish the center based on his personal experience with addiction. Colin Harris said the addition of the Longleaf Wellness Center expands its mission to make high-quality treatment available to all Alabamians by providing much-needed outpatient mental health services to the area.
According to Mental Health America’s State of Mental Health In America 2022, Alabama ranked 50th out of 51 states in access rankings, which shows how much access to mental health care exists in a state. Alabama fell nine spots overall, from 36th in 2021 to 45th in 2022.
“Given what we know about substance use disorder and mental health, it is vital that we break down the barriers to treatment,” said Ian Hennion, executive director of the Birmingham Recovery Centre. “We don’t want patients to think there are no options. Longleaf gives patients even more options to get the help they need.”
Longleaf will make critical intensive substance use treatment more accessible to Alabamians struggling with addiction through a strategic expansion beginning in Madison. Like Birmingham, the Huntsville area location will provide substance abuse recovery treatment while serving as a substance abuse recovery resource for the community. Longleaf Recovery Center – Madison will host support groups and retreats and provide a meeting place for those with a vested interest in recovery support. The outpatient treatment center will be built near Toyota Field, Madison’s Little League baseball stadium.
Ground breaking on the Madison project is tentatively scheduled for this fall, and construction on both sites should begin before the end of the year.
“I applaud Longleaf’s commitment to expanding treatment services across our state,” said state Department of Mental Health Commissioner Kim Boswell. “Those who need mental health and substance use disorder treatment will now have more opportunities to get the care they need thanks to the expansion of projects like this that increase access to care.”
As a partner in Longleaf, LIV Ventures will be responsible for the development of the Longleaf Wellness Center in Hoover, as well as future projects throughout the state.
“We are honored to play a role in expanding access to mental health and addiction treatment services in Alabama,” said Rob Crumpton, CEO of LIV. “Our company purposefully invests in projects that make life better for people and their communities. We want our work to generate a higher return on life and we are confident that many people and families will benefit from these additional facilities and services.”