NASW-NC Social Work Blog

Your source for the social work profession in North Carolina.

NC Mental Health Crisis Solutions Initiative

The NC Department of Health and Human Services held the first Mental Health Crisis Solutions Initiative  meeting this week with social workers and other mental health providers and agencies present. Spearheaded by Dave Richard, Director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, the meeting took place Monday, December 9th with around eighty stakeholders in attendance. In 2012, 15% of emergency department visits were paid by private insurance, 23% were self pay, 60% were government payer (Medicare/Medicaid) and 4% were other or unknown. With these staggering statistics, the group will look at what is available for patients in crisis and how can we educate the state to put usable measures in place to treat someone in crisis when they need it most.

The group is charged with expanding existing solutions, educating the state on initiatives and resources, potential policy changes, looking at where the state is spending money and where it should spend money, and balancing state and local funding.

During the duration of this group, the state will look at:

  • Percentage of emergency department visits for primary diagnoses related to mental health or substance abuse issues
  • Wait times in Emergency Departments for State Hospital inpatient care (psychiatric and substance abuse) placement
  • Numbers of peoples with mental health crises, who have been admitted to Emergency Departments that are readmitted within 30 days

The group plans to meet monthly and will look at solutions such as the involuntary commitment procedures, mobile crisis units, preventive care and better ways to access beds across the state.

Next steps: The Department of Health and Human Services compiled all discussed information and will email that next week. The group will then look at common themes and targeted solutions. Additionally, the group will look at short term fixes that can be implemented while the group works on long term solutions.

If you have suggestions to how we might better treat our citizens when they are in crisis, please email Kay Castillo at

For more information, see Mental Health Crisis Solutions White Paper and Mental Health Crisis Quick Facts.


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This entry was posted on December 12, 2013 by in Advocacy and tagged , , , , .

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