Local mental health facility getting major upgrade

By WVUA 23 News Student Reporter Savannah Denton

TUSCALOOSA – The expansion of the Taylor Hardin Secure Medical Facility in Tuscaloosa means the facility has more means to help those in need. The facility is a 140-bed psychiatric hospital that provides comprehensive psychiatric evaluations and treatment to criminally committed male patients.

This facility is the state’s only forensic hospital operated by the Alabama Department of Mental Health. Treatment is also provided for male patients from other hospitals who require treatment in a more secure setting.

Taylor Hardin Director of Forensic Mental Health Services Dr. Virginia Scott-Adams said the overall goal of the facility is rehabilitating people so they can re-enter society.

“Some patients come in and are at a place where they are not really able to function as well as they would like,” Scott-Adams said. “Over time, by offering therapeutic services and providing holistic care that addresses all of their needs, we are really able to transform the lives of some of these gentlemen so they can go on to live in a setting more appropriate for their needs while we are maintaining safety and security within the community.”

The facility provides evaluation and treatment services throughout the judicial system.

Pretrial evaluation and treatment services are provided for men committed by the circuit courts of all 67 counties within the state. Post-trial services are provided for people found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect and are committed by the courts.

Often there is a stigma surrounding patients within the facility, but Interim Facility Director Dr. Yolanda Clay said these patients need appropriate care like anyone else.

“I think one thing that we can look at is that everyone who works here, regardless of if they are a nurse or psychiatrist, they are advocates for our patients. For some of our patients we are the only advocate that they have,” said Clay.

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