SEARCY, Ark. — A rehab and mental health facility in Searcy has been providing free care for 40 years, but instead of celebrating its anniversary this year, it will be closing its doors next month.
The facility has changed ownership several times in its four-decade history but has never had to stop care. Employees say Wednesday was the first day they had to turn away people asking for help.
A band of people joined together at the Preferred Family Healthcare Facility in Searcy.
“Changed my whole life,” one patient said.
Dozens with different backgrounds and stories all have a common feeling.
“If it wasn’t for this place I would probably be dead,” Season Sutherland, a former client turned employee said.
A notice was placed on the door on Tuesday confirming fears the free facility providing drug rehab, mental healthcare and assisted living would be closing its doors for good.
It’s leaving all involved in the dark.
“I can’t tell them what’s going to happen because I don’t know. All I know is I won’t be here as of October 12th,” Holly Lindsey, an 11 year employee at the facility said. She says she was a client 14 years ago and never left.
A press release by Preferred Family Healthcare says they were working to transfer all services to TrueNorth, but instead, they are dissolving all Arkansas facilities.
“For 40 years this place has been making a difference and it’s just a sad thing to see it go,” Lindsey said.
“With the epidemics going on why would someone want to shut the best place in Arkansas down?” patient Jeffrey Reando asked.
Leaving some clients, turned employees like Season Sutherland worried for the future.
“It’s not about my job, it has nothing to do with my job,” Sutherland said.
“It’s the people that’s going to die.”
Emotions are running high for a vulnerable group; many of them facing addiction and mental health concerns. They say they had found hope for themselves and their families but don’t know where they’ll go next.
“It keeps me on the straight and narrow, it keeps me a productive member of society. You take all that away, I don’t know what’s going to happen,” Reando said.
But, this group is a month away from giving up hope.
“Miracles happen everyday, look at all of us,” Sutherland said pointing at the huddle of people outside the main office.
It will take a miracle and a lot of money to keep them together.