Sunrise Centre to build new facility in spring

News Photo by Mike Gonzalez Sunrise Centre Executive Director Madeleine McConnell, stands next to the center’s business sign close to Walnut Street on Monday.

ALPENA — Sunrise Centre, a recovery facility for individuals struggling with substance abuse or ongoing mental health conditions, plans to build a new facility at its current Walnut Street location in Alpena in the springtime.

The current facility planned to be torn down around the same time as construction holds 20 beds for the male residents. The building was originally a religious convent in the 1970s and was later turned into the facility that currently stands.

According to Madeleine McConnell, executive director of Sunrise Centre, a new facility is needed to offer a larger and higher quality space for the community.

“We want to make sure that when people come and receive their services here, it’s in the best quality location and the best quality state that we can provide,” McConnell said. “So that this is a warm and welcoming and more modernized and up to date treatment facility. This facility has been here for quite a number of years — many, many decades — and is just not quite meeting our needs anymore.”

Sunrise Centre is a 41-bed treatment facility that holds 20 beds for male residents, 15 beds for female residents in a separate facility close to the base structure, and six beds for people to medically detoxify.

McConnell said that the facility is usually at 80 to 90% capacity and usually full, but that “we always have an opening for somebody that needs it.”

McConnell joined Sunrise Centre 10 months ago as executive director and said that she wanted to be a part of a strong and healthy contributor to mental health and substance use services in Northeast Michigan.

She said the treatment center supports and serves 42 counties and that if there are any facilities that are filled up, residents have the option to travel to the Alpena location.

“There are residential treatment centers around the state, but they vary in size and capacity,” McConnell said. “So, some people choose to stay within the region, if able, sometimes those beds are full, and they are not able to access the treatment in their county. There’s not as many facilities available as there are people that need it. The shortage of mental health providers and substance use treatment providers is really a crisis that we’re all impacted by.”

People who want to continue treatment and stabilize their conditions can stay for multiple weeks. McConnell mentioned that a staying period can vary between 30 to 90 days, but that some people stay at the facility for up to 120 days.

McConnell said that while 30 days may seem like a long time, but to fully heal and find long-lasting stability, that amount of time is “a drop in the bucket.”

“We hope that while people are staying here, they’re engaging in quality treatment services and intensive treatment services to help them find some stability as they step away from the impact from those substances.,” McConnell said. “Years of damage or the intensity of damage that substances cause on the brain isn’t going to be cured and resolved in 30 days, but there’s some foundation that can be established using hope and motivation for continuation of recovery that can be established in that time.”


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