Dave Richard: A mental health initiative

January 3, 2014 

I was pleased to read your Dec. 31 editorial “Avoiding ER.” Wake County’s pilot is an excellent example of collaboration and innovation to address the need for alternatives to care for people in mental health crisis.

In October, the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services announced a Crisis Solutions Initiative to respond to this growing issue with a stable, responsive system for people with mental illness and their families. The kickoff event was at WakeBrook Recovery Center and specifically highlighted Wake County’s program as a promising practice that we would like to see replicated.

One of the core components of the initiative is a coalition that brings together an array of key stakeholders to identify what is already working across our state. At our first meeting in December, more than 80 participants shared ideas and thoughts about practical implementation strategies. Success will depend on collaboration – state and local government as well as community partners – as we find solutions to rebuild a system that will work for our residents.

We believe we are on the right path with changes already underway and appreciate the media’s support in keeping this effort at the forefront of public awareness.

Dave Richard

Director of the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services, Raleigh

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