Smoky Mountain, Caldwell County announce plans for new mental health crisis and detox facility in Lenoir

Press release from Smoky Mountain:


Smoky Mountain LME/MCO, Caldwell County Announce Plans for New Mental Health Crisis and Detox Facility in Lenoir

July 10, 2014—Residents of Caldwell, Alexander and McDowell counties who are experiencing a mental health crisis or need medical detox from alcohol or drugs will soon be served by a new behavioral health crisis stabilization facility scheduled to open by the end of 2015 in Lenoir.
Residents from other neighboring counties may also receive treatment at the new facility when space is available. The N.C. Housing Finance Agency has committed $620,000 to Caldwell County for construction costs associated with the facility, a venture involving the county, Smoky Mountain LME/MCO and RHA Health Services Inc., a comprehensive behavioral healthcare provider. The new program will be located at RHA’s outpatient behavioral health facility at 2415 Morganton Blvd. SW. Caldwell County will not need to contribute any county funds toward the project.
Foothills Services, Inc., a local nonprofit, will fund the remaining construction costs of approximately $480,000 to meet what is expected to be a total construction cost of $1.1 million. The program’s annual operating budget will be about $1.8 million, including transportation and law enforcement presence, and will be fully funded by Smoky.
The facility will provide badly needed, round-the-clock resources for behavioral health crisis stabilization that do not currently exist in the three-county area. The effort was a result of intensive collaboration among Caldwell County, Smoky, RHA, Caldwell Memorial and McDowell hospitals, county and city law enforcement agencies and mental health providers.
“Anytime we are able to increase services for the citizens of Caldwell County and spend tax dollars more wisely, I consider it a win,” said Stan Kiser, Caldwell County manager. “This center will meet a huge need by providing an immediate, safe place for emergency care for patients in a crisis here in their home county. This, in turn, will increase safety in our hospital emergency department for other citizens.”
The facility will have 12 beds, will serve adults 18 and older and will accept both voluntary admissions and involuntary commitments. It will serve local residents who need stabilization during an acute mental health crisis, such as individuals who are a danger to themselves or others, cannot take care of themselves, need more care than can be provided in an outpatient setting or have substance use issues.
Ultimately, the program will help bring down healthcare costs because it will reduce the need for individuals in crisis to be admitted to expensive stays in emergency departments, and it will allow individuals to be treated in their home community. It will also save fuel and time for sheriff’s deputies who transport individuals to treatment locations.
“This program is a critical addition to our treatment continuum in these counties,” said Smoky CEO Brian Ingraham. “We are investing heavily in prevention, early identification and engagement with services, as well as a robust crisis continuum, the foundation of which is the RHA-operated walk-in center, where same- day access is available for those in crisis.”
Dave Richard, N.C. Department of Health and Human Services deputy secretary of behavioral health and developmental disabilities services, said that since Gov. Pat McCrory’s administration launched a Crisis Solutions Initiative last year, DHHS and its partners have focused on long-term efforts to ensure individuals and families experiencing a mental health or substance abuse crisis have a place to turn for help. “This announcement today continues that effort and partnership with community leaders in our state,” Richard said. “I commend Smoky Mountain LME/MCO and Caldwell County for their commitment to this important effort.”
A. Robert Kucab, executive director of the N.C. Housing Finance Agency, said the agency’s board of directors was pleased to allot the funds to Caldwell County.
“We are dedicated to providing shelter for the state’s most vulnerable persons through the N.C. Housing Trust Fund, but we rely on local initiative to get housing built,” Kucab said. “All the partners in this great effort are to be commended.”
RHA also serves individuals with mental health and substance use concerns through its regional outpatient walk-in centers, located at 2415 Morganton Blvd. SW in Lenoir, 393 3rd Ave. SW in Taylorsville and 486 Spaulding Road, Suite B, in Marion. “We are excited to secure the funding to add this program to the service continuum in these counties,” said Jeanne Duncan, RHA president. Smoky also sponsors a 24-hour Regional Mobile Crisis Team for the three-county area, accessible by calling 1-888-646-0188.
Smoky Mountain LME/MCO manages mental health, substance abuse and intellectual/developmental disability services in Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Buncombe, Caldwell, Cherokee, Clay, Graham, Haywood, Henderson, Jackson, Macon, Madison, McDowell, Mitchell, Polk, Rutherford, Swain, Transylvania, Watauga, Wilkes and Yancey counties in North Carolina. Access to services is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week by calling 1-800-849-6127.

About Lea McLellan
Lea McLellan is a freelance writer who likes to write stories about music, art, food, wellness and interesting locals doing interesting things.

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