Behavioral Health Crisis Referral System


The North Carolina Behavioral Health Crisis Referral System (BH-CRSys) is a secure web-based application to assist participating facilities in timely and appropriate placement of individuals experiencing a behavioral health crisis that have been assessed by a professional at a participating facility and have been determined to need a higher level of care.

BH-CRSys connects a statewide network of facilities that make referrals (Referring Facilities) with facilities that offer inpatient or facility-based treatment (Receiving Facilities). BH-CRSys went live in March, 2018, and facilities are continuously being added to the system.

BH-CRSys cannot provide direct crisis support and cannot locate inpatient care for individuals as assessment is necessary to determine appropriate treatment needs. Please see below under contact section for phone numbers for those in crisis and a link for family, friends, and other professionals calling on behalf of an individual to locate crisis provider information including phone numbers and additional information by county.

History and Need

On average, 150,000 individuals with a primary diagnosis of a behavioral health condition (mental health, developmental disability or substance use disorder) are seen in emergency departments (EDs) across North Carolina each year. In 2015, approximately 30 percent of these individuals were referred for inpatient care.

EDs are one of many sources of referrals for inpatient care and often have individuals with the most critical need of immediate behavioral health treatment. Many inpatient facilities report being on a continuous delay, with more patient referrals than available beds. Finding an appropriate bed can be even more difficult than finding an empty bed. The individual's diagnosis, gender, medical needs and security are several of the factors that need to be considered, as the need to serve the individual in the least restrictive level of care.


To develop an efficient and effective web-based referral system for individuals experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis that will:

  • Reduce the length of time individuals experiencing behavioral health crises wait to be placed in an appropriate treatment facility. 
  • Increase efficiency and timeliness of the psychiatric inpatient bed acceptance process for both referring and receiving facilities.
  • Potentially reduce the distance a patient/family must travel for inpatient treatment.
  • Collect information to help inform the system and meet the needs of persons served.


BH-CRSys was designed based on research and ongoing feedback from an advisory committee and dozens of professionals who were potential and current users of the system. As a result, BH-CRSys was developed to be a single point of access for:

  • Up-to-date behavioral health facility information:

    • Facilities complete and update important information such as referral accepting status, populations served, exclusions and more
  • Search and filter: 
    • Criteria-based search to identify facilities accepting referrals for behavioral health inpatient and facility-based care
    • Use filters to search specific areas or statewide to identify specialized programs, locations that serve specific populations and other criteria
  • In-system referral and response:
    • Secure submission and communication for live referrals
  • Communication:
    • System-wide messaging can be used to announce new facilities, beds or services as well as send notifications when facilities need to communicate important access information quickly


Facilities that provide services in one or more of the categories listed below may be eligible to use BH-CRSys.

Referral Facilities:

  • EDs
  • Mobile crisis providers
  • Behavioral health urgent care centers

Receiving Facilities:

  • Community hospital psychiatric inpatient units
  • Private psychiatric hospitals
  • State psychiatric hospitals
  • State alcohol and drug abuse treatment centers 
  • Facility-based crisis centers
  • Non-hospital medical detoxification facilities

If you are a potential user facility that would like to learn how to participate in the system, or would like to determine if you may be an eligible facility, please send your contact information, the name of your facility and the qualifying facility-type/service you offer to


FOR THOSE IN CRISIS OR CALLING ON BEHALF OF SOMEONE IN CRISIS OR IN NEED OF URGENT OR EMERGENT ASSESMENT: Call 911 if this is a life-threatening emergency. If you need police, ask for a CIT Officer, they have received training for these circumstances. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis, please call HOPE4NC: 1-855-587-3463 or text "hope" to 1-855-587-3463. If you are seeking crisis behavioral health care on behalf of family member or friend, or if you are a medical or other professional serving an individual who is in crisis or needs urgent assessment, the crisis provider for your area can be located here.

For general inquiries please contact: