Hundreds laid off as Southwestern State Hospital closes doors - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Hundreds laid off as Southwestern State Hospital closes doors

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THOMASVILLE, GA (WALB) -

Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville closed its doors on Tuesday.
    

People in the community are worried about the future of the patients and hundreds of hospital workers are looking for jobs.

While those employees are worried about finding work, their biggest concern is the future of the patients at Southwestern and the impact on the community.

Gail Sorrell spent the last two years working with patients at Southwestern State Hospital in Thomasville.

"What we did was important and I don't think we can be replaced," said Sorrell.

Due to state budget cuts, Southwestern State Hospital is closing after over 40 years of helping people with mental illness, disabilities and addiction.

"We were their life line but we're no longer able to do that because they shut us down," said Sorrell.

The news came as a shock to most in May and on their last day on the job, 660 employees are still in disbelief.

" I aint never had to worry about working anywhere else, really this was it, this is my second home really, I mean this is the only place I ever worked," said Henrietta Cain.

Henrietta Cain worked at the hospital for 13 years.
 
" I have to get me another job, where? I don't know," said Cain.

The compassionate employees are more concerned with what will happen to the hospital's patients.

"Well the word on the street is there are more patients on the streets, even here in town, and we serve 23 counties," said Sorrell.

While the patients will be impacted, the place that provided hope for many won't have another chance to change a life.

"Our patients are the one's really losing out, we had many that not only had mental health issues but they came here because they had nowhere else to go"," said Sorrell.

Gail Sorrell says whether it's Southwestern State Hospital or another facility she'll continue to service the community.
 
" I feel like I should continue to work in service to others, because we're not better than anyone, some of us just have better circumstances," said Sorrell.

The massive layoff will mean the loss of $35 million in wages that are paid into the community annually.

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