NCDHHS is focusing on three priorities through 2024:
- Investing in behavioral health and resilience;
- Supporting child and family well-being; and
- Building a strong and inclusive workforce.
These priorities are grounded in whole-person health and equity and cut across a broader strategic plan that NCDHHS uses to drive effective operations and measure the impact of services provided throughout the state.
Behavioral Health and Resilience
The COVID-19 pandemic brought unprecedented stressors that exacerbated the mental and behavioral health crisis in North Carolina and across the country. To build resiliency, investments must be made in coordinated systems of care that make mental health services easy to access when and where they are needed and reduce the stigma around accessing these services. Research shows that coordinated systems of care for people with behavioral health issues or substance use disorders are effective at improving outcomes.
Child and Family Well Being
The pandemic also placed immense stress on North Carolina families and children, limited available services and eroded safety nets. NCDHHS is working to make it easier for children and families to access the healthcare, programs and supports they need. The department has extended Medicaid to keep families and babies healthy, and it is developing new Medicaid healthcare plans that are tailored to the specific needs of children and families. It leverages data and technology to make it easier for families to access essential food programs that support whole child and whole family health. The department is also supporting the mental health needs of North Carolina's children with new programs in schools and communities.
Strong and Inclusive Workforce
Long-standing workforce challenges became more pressing during the pandemic and exposed the reality that our health care workforce is essential to keeping North Carolinians healthy and well. The department is prioritizing a focus on building a strong and inclusive workforce that supports early learning, health and wellness across North Carolina. From early childhood educators to direct care workers and public health leaders, NCDHHS is committed to building the workforce that will continue to keep North Carolinians healthy and well. This includes investigating new compensation models, career pathways and inclusive employment strategies that will support a workforce that is ready for our next challenge and is reflective of our entire community.