When someone experiences a mental health crisis, they are often met by police officers. The person is handcuffed and taken to a hospital, where the doors are locked and medication is forced on them. Patients leave traumatized, saying they are reluctant to seek psychiatric help in the future. This is the crisis state of North Carolina’s behavioral health system, which relies heavily on law enforcement, emergency rooms and involuntary commitments. In this series, we report some of the reasons behind the rise of involuntary commitment petitions in North Carolina and how it impacts patients seeking help.

‘Behavioral health emergency’: NC health organizations ask state leaders for help

By Taylor Knopf Some of the state’s top health organizations are asking North Carolina leaders for a meeting to address what they’re calling a “behavioral health emergency.” The COVID-19 pandemic caused immeasurable stress and loss, resulting in more people needing mental health services. The demand increase has strained North Carolina’s already fractured mental health system. …