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.

YouTube video

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

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.

Resource Documents

General Letter to IVC Clients and Others – Bob Ward

What is involuntary commitment? – Bob Ward

An open letter about psychiatric advance directives and health care powers of attorney – Bob Ward

Re-thinking mental health crisis together

Revolving Doors of Hospitalization and Incarceration: How Perceptions of Procedural Justice Affect Treatment Outcomes

Attention to this issue at the legislature has lead to proposed legislation (2021)

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