Spencer Recovery Center working on mental health facility for veterans

Published 9:30 am Saturday, November 11, 2023

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Valley will soon be welcoming a new residential mental health facility for veterans in Shawmut Circle. The Spencer Recovery Center began working on the facility after identifying a need for mental health services and resources for veterans in the area.

“We’re just hopeful that this would be something that the citizens of Valley and the representatives of Valley would be proud to say that they’re the home to this Spencer Recovery Center,” said Executive Director W. Chase Cameron.

The Spencer Recovery Center is a mental health and substance abuse center with locations in Florida and California, which focuses on veterans, active duty and first responders.

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The program will be a 30-45 day residential program, which will cater to mental health needs like depression, anxiety and PTSD for veterans. Cameron said the program is currently waiting on approval of a mental health license from the State of Alabama.

According to Cameron, the project is coming along well. The facility will house 26 veterans with the potential to expand to 30.

The living quarters will be equipped with a kitchen and dining area.

The center will have four counselors, one licensed clinical supervisor and a medical director on the staff.

Cameron said the program is also designed to plan for after-discharge with community resources to alleviate issues like homelessness and unemployment.

According to the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, over 10% of homeless U.S. adults are veterans. About 11-15% of the homeless population in both Alabama and Georgia are veterans.

About 30% of veterans from 18-24 years old are unemployed.

“Those community partnerships and working with partner organizations give us opportunities to make sure that veterans when they leave the facility, they’ve got a warm bed and job skills and whatever it is that they need help with,” Cameron said.

Cameron, a decommissioned U.S. Army platoon leader and 1st Lieutenant, said Spencer Recovery Center’s mission was personal to his desire to serve. As a veteran himself, he said he can understand what clients are going through and help them with things like the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Spencer Recovery Center partners with 3 Hots and A Cot, Coweta Force, and local VFWs and the American Legion. Cameron said he hopes the community and local organizations will engage with the center when it opens.

“We are really hoping the community will engage with us,” Cameron said.

Cameron said that one of his goals with Spencer Recovery Center has been to build community connections and affirm community foundations for veterans.