NC DHHS Helps Citizens in Crisis Access Behavioral Health Care

Raleigh, NC

More than 2,500 patients across the state may be diverted each year from hospital emergency departments to behavioral health crisis centers with help from $5,000 grants awarded to each of 11 counties and their Emergency Medical Services, announced Courtney Cantrell, PhD, Director of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services.

The counties awarded the grant are Brunswick, Durham, Forsyth, Franklin, Guilford, Halifax, Lincoln, Orange, McDowell, Rockingham and Stokes. Wake and Onslow counties currently operate this program.

As part of the grant, DHHS' Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services and the N.C. Office of Emergency Medical Services are partnering with the Community Paramedicine Behavioral Health Crisis Response program to enable those experiencing a mental health crisis to access specialized behavioral health and substance use services quickly. The selected communities are required to have a willing and available crisis center provider to function as an alternative destination instead of an emergency department.

"This funding gives local emergency medical services agencies the necessary resources to formalize training, relationships and community infrastructure that will help serve individuals in crisis in a new and improved way," said Dr. Cantrell. "This is yet another way we are helping citizens in need as a direct result of the mission and leadership of the McCrory administration and Secretary Wos' commitment to the Crisis Solution Initiative."

The Community Paramedicine Behavioral Health Crisis Response program is part of the Crisis Solutions Initiative. The N.C. Crisis Solutions Initiative focuses on identifying and implementing the best known strategies for crisis care while reducing avoidable visits to emergency departments and involvement with the criminal justice system for individuals in behavioral health crisis. More information can be found at: