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Investment in Strengthening North Carolina’s Behavioral Health Crisis Response System



As part of an ongoing commitment to improve behavioral health and resilience in North Carolina, the NC Department of Health and Human Services is investing in transforming the state’s behavioral crisis response system to ensure people experiencing a behavioral health emergency have alternatives to emergency departments when seeking the care they need. NCDHHS today announced a two-year plan to invest approximately $15 million in nine behavioral health urgent care centers across North Carolina. This investment will increase the state’s capacity to provide behavioral health urgent care by nearly 50%.


Media and members of the public are invited to attend a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, April 9, 2024, to celebrate the opening of the new behavioral health urgent care center in Rockingham County, North Carolina. See below for details.


"Behavioral health is essential to health. We’re building from the ground-up a behavioral health system that gives every North Carolinian someone to call, someone to respond, and somewhere to go for care," said NC Secretary for Health and Human Services Kody H. Kinsley. "These new behavioral health urgent cares are an important part of ensuring people have more options for timely, effective and trauma-informed crisis care."


While traditional urgent care centers focus primarily on physical health care, behavioral health urgent care facilities provide mental health and substance use services for children and adults experiencing a crisis. As an alternative to emergency departments, behavioral health urgent cares offer 24-hour access to mental health specialists who can assist with diagnosis and assessment, medication management and treatment options – getting people the right care at the right time and in the right setting.


"When someone we love is struggling, we want them to receive the best care possible, in the most appropriate setting possible," said Kelly Crosbie, MSW, LCSW, Director of the NCDHHS Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Services. "Thanks to the investments in our behavioral health system, we are greatly expanding the state’s capacity to provide specialized care for individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis. We are truly building a pathway from crisis to care."


Of the historic $835 million investment in behavioral health in the 2023 state budget, more than $130 million is dedicated to improving North Carolina’s behavioral crisis system. With services in place like the national Suicide and Crisis Lifeline (988) and NCDHHS Peer Warmline (1-855-PEERS-NC), families have someone to call when they are in crisis, but there are not always services available in the community to refer them to. Behavioral health urgent cares are part of a package of new investments in a continuum of services that will advance North Carolina’s behavioral crisis response system by improving options from the moment of crisis to the point of care. 


Over the next two years, NCDHHS will partner with the state’s Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) to expand nine behavioral health urgent care facilities in Alamance, Buncombe, Caldwell, Haywood, Onslow, Pitt, Rockingham, Rowan and Vance counties. These locations were chosen based on several criteria, including regional data on the number of individuals waiting for behavioral health care in emergency departments, proximity to crisis services and partnerships with preexisting community services.


The new facilities will join a current network of behavioral health urgent care centers in Cumberland, Durham, Forsyth, Guilford, Mecklenburg, Randolph, Richmond and Wake counties.


Rockingham County Ribbon Cutting

Rockingham County, Daymark Recovery Services Inc., Vaya Health and NCDHHS are partnering to host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new behavioral health urgent care in Rockingham County: 


What:

Rockingham County Behavioral Health Urgent Care Ribbon Cutting and Open House

Who:  

Kelly Crosbie, Director, Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Services, NCDHHS           

Billy R. West, Jr., President and CEO, Daymark Recovery Services, Inc.               

Reece Pyrtle, NC State Representative, R-District 65             

Houston Barrow, Rockingham County Commissioner              

Larry E. Hill, Executive Vice-President and CFO, Vaya Health             

James T. Allegretto, National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI); Alamance, Caswell, Rockingham Affiliate Board President             

Ricky Graves, Vaya Health Region 4 Consumer Family Advisory Committee (CFAC) and interim Vaya Board of Directors representative for Region 4 CFAC 


When: Tuesday, April 9, 2024                 

1 – 3 p.m.

Where: Rockingham County Behavioral Health Urgent Care                 

355 Country Home Road Reidsville, NC 27320


If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis right now, help is available to anyone, anytime. Call or text 988 or chat at 988Lifeline.org. People who speak Spanish can now connect directly to Spanish-speaking crisis counselors by calling 988 and pressing option 2, texting “AYUDA” to 988, or chatting online at 988lineadevida.org or 988Lifeline.org. For additional support, call the NCDHHS Peer Warmline at 1-855-PEERS NC (855-733-7762) to speak with a peer support specialist, someone who understands.


The NCDHHS Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Services hosts a monthly webinar, "Side By Side with DMHDDSUS," to provide updates on the department’s investments in behavioral health and solicit input from stakeholders and the public. For more information, or to register as an attendee for one of these webinars, please visit the Side By Side meeting registration link

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