On World Mental Health Day, NC Celebrates Historic $835M Investment in Behavioral Health | Eastern North Carolina Now

Today, on World Mental Health Day, the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services is celebrating an unprecedented $835 million investment in behavioral health.

Press Release:

    RALEIGH     Today, on World Mental Health Day, the North Carolina Department of Health & Human Services is celebrating an unprecedented $835 million investment in behavioral health. These funds are transformative and will make it possible for more North Carolinians to receive care when and where they need it.

    "Thanks to the leadership of Governor Cooper and the General Assembly, we've secured one of the largest investments in behavioral health in more than a generation," said NCDHHS Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. "This is a monumental step forward for the people of North Carolina and will assure we better meet their behavioral health needs."

    The state budget invests $835 million in behavioral health and resiliency within NCDHHS. $700 million of that directly supports Governor Roy Cooper's $1B Behavioral Health Roadmap. Some of the key areas funded are:

  • Services for people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis
  • Services to help individuals with behavioral health conditions avoid incarceration
  • Services for children with complex needs and supports for families
  • Strengthening the behavioral health workforce


    "North Carolina and the country are in the midst of a behavioral health crisis, and this investment arrives at a critical time of need," said Kelly Crosbie, the Director of the NCDHHS Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Use Services. "More people than ever have mental health or substance use disorder needs. And rates of depression and anxiety have nearly quadrupled, drug overdose deaths jumped 72% in two years and youth suicides have doubled over the last decade. Combined with Medicaid expansion, these funds will make life-saving improvements."

    Investments in services for children and families will provide children with complex needs, including intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, access to specialized treatments and programs. Funding and policy change will promote integrated care, such as NC-PAL, specialized residential and respite services, and expand the Collaborative Care model, so practices are equipped to provide children and adults behavioral health services at their primary care doctor's office.

    With investments in the crisis system, more mobile crisis teams will be created and crisis receiving facilities, like specialty mental health mini-emergency departments, will be able to get people the care they need when and where they need it. Funding will also go towards increasing the number of crisis stabilization beds for children statewide and expanding the statewide bed registry, BH SCAN, so hospitals and other providers can facilitate and track referrals and access to inpatient, crisis, residential and community levels of care. The investment in children and families and crisis services will help ensure people don't have to languish in emergency departments awaiting behavioral health care because there is no other place for them to go.


    These investments will also expand re-entry, diversion and capacity restoration programs for people involved with the justice system. Serious mental illness affects 15% of men and 31% of women in jails, and 85% of the prison population has a substance use disorder or was incarcerated for a crime related to substance use. These programs will expand opportunities for health care and provide alternatives to incarceration.

    The largest of the legislative investments will go towards increasing the Medicaid reimbursement rates for behavioral health services - the first such increase in a decade. Increasing these rates will strengthen the workforce and increase access to care in the appropriate settings. It will also make Medicaid expansion more impactful for the estimated 600,000 people who will gain access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment.

    "After years of being stretched thin, our systems of care will receive the funding they need," said NCDHHS Chief Psychiatrist Dr. Carrie Brown. "The ability to raise the floor for Medicaid's reimbursement of behavioral health services will increase access to care in the right settings so fewer children and adults end up stuck in emergency departments or involved in the justice system."


    If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis right now, help is available. Call or text the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. People who speak Spanish can now connect directly to Spanish-speaking crisis counselors by calling 988 and pressing option 2, texting "AYUDA" to 988, or chatting online at 988lineadevida.org or 988Lifeline.org.

  • NC Department of Health and Human Services
  • 2001 Mail Service Center
  • Raleigh, NC 27699-2001
  • Ph: (919) 855-4840
  • news@dhhs.nc.gov

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