In this half hour program, we examined how North Carolina has come to over-rely on involuntary commitment as a way to get help to people in mental health crisis.
With the help of Mecklenburg County Assistant Public Defender Bob Ward and Laurie Coker, a mental health advocate and head of the Green Tree Peer Support Center, we’ve collected resources to help connect you to more stakeholders who are working to reduce the state’s reliance on involuntary commitment.
If you weren’t able to join the session, you can catch up here.
Speaker contact information
Bob Ward, Mecklenburg assistant public defender
Laurie Coker, Mental health advocate
Taylor Knopf, NCHN reporter
Read stories from our series: Seeking Help and Getting Handcuffed
- More NC psych patients are ending up handcuffed in a police car. Why?
- New push to help mental health patients determine their treatment in emergencies
- NC didn’t track the data on mental health commitments, so some advocates did it instead.
- Despite pitfalls, counties leave psych patient transport in sheriffs’ hands
- State lawmakers seek non-police, community interventions to mental health crises
Resources mentioned during the presentation include:
Green Tree Peer Support Center, led by executive director Laurie Coker, is a social space that offers peer to peer support, wellness education, and inclusive relationships with people from across our Winston-Salem community. Its aim is to help people gain their best health through community engagement that is focused on mental well being and life in progress.
Peer Voice NC is a statewide mental health peer and “consumer” organization, one of 26 designated in different states, to impact policies, practices and systems to facilitate recovery from mental health and/or co-occurring substance use disorders. On the first Monday of every month, Peer Voice hosts a Peer Justice Monthly Gathering. You can join their Zoom meeting here.
Promise Resource Network is a survivor-led community support network that offers virtual classes, helplines and local community initiatives in Mecklenburg County. “Some of us have survived suicide attempts, domestic violence, or involuntary psychiatric hospitalizations. Others have experienced homelessness, incarceration, or gang involvement. We are united by our resilience and the knowledge we have gained by overcoming experiences others thought were insurmountable. They weren’t and we thrived.”
National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) North Carolina offers peer education, while also working to raise awareness and advocate to lawmakers about mental health issues in the state.
“How involuntary commitment impacts on the burden of care of the family” is an scholarly article on involuntary commitments in Australia, but Laurie Coker pointed out the relevance of the issue in North Carolina as well.
Attention to this issue at the legislature has lead to proposed legislation (2021)
- House Bill 786: Enhance Local Response/Mental Health Crises
- House Bill 787: Improved Data on Involuntary Commitments
- House Bill 788: Achieve Better Mental Health Recovery Results