Saint Simons By-The-Sea in St. Simons, GA

Overall Rating

(3.1 of 5)
Treatment Effectiveness
Accommodations & Amenities
Meals & Nutrition
2927 Demere Road
St. Simons GA 31522

Saint Simons By-The-Sea Philosophy

Saint Simons By-The-Sea provides mental health and substance abuse treatment to adults and adolescents in a luxurious, tranquil setting. The facility treats addiction as a potentially life-threatening but treatable medical illness that often has roots in mental disorders. Treatment includes exploration of how psychological disorders contributed to clients' chemical dependency, and the island setting ensures privacy and anonymity, enabling residents to concentrate completely on their treatment.

Areas of Specialization

  • Dual Diagnosis/ Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment
    These two terms describe a person who is not only addicted to drugs or alcohol, but also has a mental or emotional illness, such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. Facilities that treat patients with dual-diagnosis or co-occurring disorders provide psychiatric treatment in addition to drug and alcohol rehabilitation services.

  • 12-Step
    The term “12 Step Program” describes a way to recover from addiction that is based on the model developed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Many drug and alcohol treatment centers base their treatment on 12 steps – the first three of which are situational, the next four addressing the practical issues created by the addiction, followed by two steps focused on making amends for hurting others. Steps 10 and 11 involve a deeper examination of the previous steps and the final step is focused on helping others avoid and recover from addiction.

Facility Highlights

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Wellness Education

Recreational Activities

Meet the Staff

Robert Bryan, M.D.

Photo of Robert Bryan, M.D.

Specialties: Addiction medicine

Medical degree: University of Mississippi School of Medicine

Internship: Lloyd Nolan Hospital, Fairfield, Ala.

Certification: American Board of Addiction Medicine, Medical Review Officer Certification Council

Miquel Martelli, M.D.

Photo of Miquel Martelli, M.D.

Specialties: Psychiatry

Medical degree: Universidad Central del Este

Internship: St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Richmond

Residency: St. Vincent’s Medical Center of Richmond

Certification: Board eligible 360 Guide

Review by Contributors


Saint Simons By-The-Sea, located in St. Simons, Ga., is a psychiatric and addiction hospital offering inpatient treatment for adults and adolescents. Saint Simons' treatment options include medical and psychiatric stabilization, a short-term residential program, treatment for co-occurring disorders, and medically managed detoxification. According to a 2017 SAMHSA survey, only 15 treatment facilities (5.1 percent) in Georgia offer detox in a residential setting and 68 (23.3 percent) offer adolescent-specific programming.


Treatment combines 12-step work and therapy. Residents are also encouraged to focus on learning relapse prevention skills. According to the facility's website, the length of stay depends on the client's needs as determined by the treatment team assigned to support the client.

The adolescent program at the facility is for teens who are severely distressed, such as those with suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, extreme anger, or severe alcohol and/or drug abuse. This program, which has 24-hour nursing care, primarily utilizes cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medication.

Saint Simons also offers the Return to Mission Wellness Treatment Program, which provides integrated substance use and mental health services for active-duty service members or veterans. According to a 2017 SAMHSA survey, 45 (15.4 percent) treatment facilities in Georgie offer a program specific to active-duty service members.


According to the facility’s website, Saint Simons employs a certified doctor of osteopathic medicine (D.O.) and three M.D.s. Saint Simons By-The-Sea is one of 59 (20.2 percent) treatment facilities in Georgia that is accredited by the Joint Commission.


Saint Simons By-The-Sea is located on an island off the coast of Georgia, less than 100 miles from both Savannah, Ga., and Jacksonville, Fla. Photographs on the facility's website show a bright, light-filled building arranged around a central courtyard with a small fountain, a sunroom, and a tennis court. The photos indicated that residents share simple and modern rooms for two.


The 14 alumni polled by at the time of this writing gave mixed feedback that skewed negative. Many alumni criticized the staff-to-client ratio, lack of time seeing treatment staff, and poor accommodations and amenities. In a representative review, alum Anita wrote: "Dr's & therapist were in short supply. It was literally an assembly line. I probably had a TOTAL of FOUR HOURS in TWO WEEKS with a dr. There is absolutely no privacy. If you want some quiet time for reflection there is NOWHERE to go."

Conversely, several other alumni expressed gratitude that the facility had helped them overcome their addictions. Alum L.C. wrote in a representative review: “SSBTS helped me understand my disease, allowed me to withdraw in a safe environment, introduced me to the 12 Steps and prepared me to face life sober on outside.”

The two alumni polled on specific metrics gave mostly high ratings. In particular, they both gave four or five stars out of five to the staff's training, cleanliness of the facility, alternative counseling options, and staff support.

Reviews on third-party sites were also mixed, echoing those of alumni surveyed by On Google, 26 reviewers contributed to an average 3.6 out of five-star rating.[1] Of two reviewers on Yelp, one offered a four-star rating and the other a one-star rating.[2] However, reviewers on the facility's Facebook page, which staff can manage, were more positive with an average 4.3 out of five-star rating based on 42 reviews[3]


Of three loved ones to submit reviews to, two gave neutral feedback, and the third negative feedback. The negative reviewer, L.C., primarily criticized the facility's poor maintenance. "My daughter was here for 5 days and when she came home she brought bed bugs home with her now we have bed bugs," they wrote. In addition, three loved ones on Google and one on Facebook all left negative reviews.


Though has not yet received any reviews from staff members as of this date, one former employee on Google gave a one-star review. The reviewer noted that the treatment curriculum was highly inconsistent and the facility is severely understaffed.


The cost of treatment at the facility is not published, however, Saint Simons' website indicates that they accept Medicare and Tricare and is also a preferred provider for most commercial insurance plans. Self-pay is also accepted, and there is a discount for prompt payment.

[1] GoogleReviews

Published on December 2018

User Reviews

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Christopher D

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This place is heaven sent they took me in when I had a serious Alcohol problem and in bad shape. I could not even do the paper work I was shaking so bad. There is some good people who work at this place, I wish I knew the nurse that real took good care of me. She told me she never lets her patients suffer. I wish I could thank her in person one day.I stayed here a week and then went to Willing Way for longer treatment but SSI is where I changed my thinking and I give them the most credit for getting me sober. They did more for me in a week than Willing way did for me in a month. But I am 9 months sober thanks to the great people who runs this place.


This was the biggest joke for treatment I have ever seen in my life. Sasha and yoga were the only valuable remnants of therapy. The kitchen staff was not even nice without a doctor’s order. It took five days to get that. Otherwise, eating faster than the speed of light was necessary. Tepid is not a good description of the staff. Lawyers have been called. Go to Ridgeview in Atlanta, if you have a choice.


This place is a joke. They take a long time answering the phone. They never call you back when they say. You always have to call them to find out anything and they don’t even know that. All they want is your money.


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I don't know why this place is getting so much hate. 100% recommend this place!


St.Simons By the sea is a joke and the laughing stock of the medical field. There is no way id ever recommend this place.


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They run with a minimum staff and Individual treatment is not possible. You are lucky to get to speak with a therapist. The food is terrible and the kitchen staff is very mean. They do very little to earn the insurance money.The place was mismanaged and a complete waste of time.


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This place is horrible and reminds me of the movie "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Patients with depression are in the same unit as psychotic patients. I saw within five minutes of entering this facility that I could not receive the treatment I needed and requested to be dismissed. I was told that I had to remain for 48 hours. I met with a most confused and incompetent psychiatrist who could not seem to keep the facts of my background straight. She wanted to put me on Prozac and see if it worked and if so she would dismiss me on the following day. Prozac is not effective the next day and this led me to believe that she was either incompetent or deceptive. She told me that she could keep me for 72 hours. I requested another psychiatrist and after talking with some of the staff, found out that my assessment of this psychiatrist was correct. I was encouraged by two staff members to file a complaint. She approached me twice after I had completed a request to see another doctor. She finally told me that her colleague said that I could be discharged after 48 hours. My husband and I met with this doctor and a hospital representative. She stated false information in the meeting, most of which my husband knew to be false. He is a mental health professional and agreed with my assessment of this mental health provider. I walked into this facility because I am grieving the death of my son. I left the facility both grieving and traumatized. During my stay when I complained about behaviors of some of the other patients, I was told that they had a right to treatment the same as me. I agree with this, however when being placed in a unit with individuals whose behaviors are both unsettling and frightening creates more distress for someone is dealing with issues such as mine, treatment should take place in separate units. In an attempt to avoid increased anxiety, I isolated myself to my room and did not attend groups. I was told by staff that I should "get outside of" myself and maybe I could help someone else. I am a caring individual and under different circumstances I would agree. In this case, I did not enter the facility to participate in the treatment of others and definitely am not in an emotional state which would allow for such. As the spouse of a mental health professional, I feel that I have a working knowledge of what should be expected from both mental health providers and an inpatient facility. This place does not meet expectations.


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It's been almost 34 yrs. since my 30 day rehab here and to this day I am sober and free. Many faint but fond memories of my stay / treatment. If you're really sick and tired of being sick and tired come here and get the tools for sober living. I did. Thank You Charter if you're not ready to quit don't waste their time and your money!


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I went there 3 times, hoping it would get better and they could help me. 3rd time is NOT the charm. The majority of the staff just sit there and talk while we have nothing to do. Was supposed to be having an evening group! Mostly sat around watching tv. Sitting around when you have a mental health condition is NOT good. I kept telling them I was not ready to go home the next day, and they said there was nothing else they could do and to see my psychiatrist at home. They practically ganged up on me, so I signed the paper to go home because I knew they had no plan to help me. The day after I got home I tried to kill myself. What does that tell you?!


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I cringe when I think of this place. They misrepresented themselves from the first phone call. They make it sound like you can come & go as you please but it was a lockdown. Strip searched...humiliating. Moved around like a herd of animals. Actually some of the residents were animals. I was on the detox unit b/c I got hooked on pain pills. There were some of the crudest people I have ever come across. The staff is ridiculously short staffed & treated like crap by management. I could hear the charge nurse talking on the phone to the "front office" about issues she was having & see the frustration on her face at being blown off. It made me sick. People taking care of us weren't taken care of by anyone above them. Dr's & therapist were in short supply. It was literally an assembly line. They'd put our charts on a rack & line us up on chairs outside the dr's office. I should have kept track on my time with the dr but if I had to guess I probably had a TOTAL of FOUR HOURS in TWO WEEKS with a dr. There is absolutely no privacy. If you want some quiet time for reflection there is NOWHERE to go. The TV is always blaring in the "activity rooms". You have to share a room with someone you don't know, may not be compatible with, is hygienically challenged or is a complete degenerate. The pictures on their website are either 20 years old or "an artist's rendition". I don't feel like this place was the answer. They got me through withdrawal but they also made me determined to never go back there. I did more work with my private therapist in our first hour together than I did in 2 weeks with these people. Do yourself a favor & read EVERY review you can find before making a decision on where to go.


My daughter was here for 5 days and when she came home she brought bed bugs home with her now we have bed bugs!!! I didn't know anything till she came home and told me one the kids there told their mom and she took her kid out of this place! Now mind you I never was told about any of this from the staff and while my daughter was there they changed her room cause they was getting bit!!


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I've had the misery of being here 3x. The first time, an orderly made my life hell. I also got s coffee thrown on me by two out of control patients. The 2nd time, I was diagnosed by one of the docs with serotonin syndrome, despite not being on any seratonin drugs. I had bronchitis and had just been realsed from hospital. They refuse to run heaters at night, and the temperature was freezing. I became much more ill. They put me on the addiction ward, even though I don't have addiction issues and wanted me take Suboxone for non-existent withdrawals. But I learned a ton about how to get drugs if I ever want them. I'd been diagnosed by one of the top specialists in the country with a rare allergic disease. They acted like iI was making it up. Despite a bleach allergy and my fervent protests, they continued aggressively cleaning with bleach. On the 3rd day, I had a serious reaction. A nurse told me it was just a panic attack and to take an Ativan and go lay down. On my 3rd trip, my throat swelled up due to stress and high pollen. I said I needed my Epipen. After an hour and a half, they still couldn't find it. The dietician was conveniently out of town, so I went 6 days without eating. I was marked as a difficult patient when if I eat their pasta meals, it'd be ER time. Then, when this dietician returned, she had the nerve to tell my family I was bad for eating a bread roll (the lesser of all evils). Some of the nurses' perfumes set me off. And they cleaned with Pine Sol--just as bad as bleach.


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I hated the place for the first five days. I'm an alcoholic so no place without vodka was going to be good. At the end of my 13 day medical assisted stay (Thank God, I needed it) I was almost afraid and reluctant to go home. The staff was amazing for what they go through... They can seem a little distant at first but it's because friends are not going to get you sober. I did make allot of friends and earned respect for myself and towards the staff. I gained 13 lbs in my 13 day stay. I was eating again and the food was great. It's never easy and I don't care what facility your in, if your not ready to change you are not going to be happy with any facility, anywhere!!! I'm grateful for my time at St. Simons (by the fence) as I called I'm grateful for the staff and Dr's and The AA organization. "It works if you work it!" My ONLY complaint is that the toilets flush so hard they sound like a jet airplane and you had to flush and run out the door to save your eardrums! Lol. If you want help, St Simons is there for you! God Bless the people who do... :-)


Medically this place is OK...they at least made an attempt to help my husband and listen to him...but they do not keep the men and women separate ladies watch out if your husbands are sent here!


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When I was sent to SSbtS, I was at an all time low. Their rigorous yet flexible treatment program taught me what my illness is, got me treatment, sent me back with long term treatment plans, and taught more than I could possibly imagine how to manage my illness and about myself. The techs and nurses are patient and wonderful, the peer support was encouraging, and the environment is safe and comfortable without making a patient want to stay long. Saint Simons by the Sea saved my life.


That's just rediculous (to reviewer Jane). Don't put out a bad name for such a good place


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Saint Simons By The Sea is the absolute WORST place ever. The people who work here are just plain no good and they are very rude and they treat their patients very bad. My time at Saint Simons was the awful. I didn\'t like it here at all. First of all, I wasn\'t even suppose to be here. My dad is the one that called them and had me put in this horrible place. There was nothing wrong with me, and there\'s nothing wrong with me now. My whole time there at Saint Simons By The Sea was horrible. And because they kept me there so long at that rotten facility, I ended up losing BOTH of my jobs. I really need those two jobs so I could support my daughter, but because my dad had me put in that place, now I have NO WAY to support either myself or my daughter. I really hate him for doing that. And I really hate Saint Simons By The Sea. I really feel sorry for all of the other patients there.


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I drank for 38 years, going in that time from living to drink to drinking to live. I always had a skeptical opinion of alcoholism as a disease that a person cannot control. I looked at it as a weakness that a person will not control. But doctors at St.Simon's By The Sea showed me the math: this is a disease and I can't control it alone; I need God and the 12 Steps. SSBTS helped me understand my diseased, allowed me to withdraw in a safe environment, introduced me to the 12 Steps and prepared me to face life sober on outside. I have been doing so now for nearly 2 1/2 years. Peace, y'all -- Larry.


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Great facility.

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