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.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to stigma attached to mental illness and sexual assault, this article assigns the pseudonym Marie to a child committed to a psychiatric hospital. Her parents are identified by their first names only. And a caution: This article mentions self-harm, suicide and sexual assault. If you need mental health support, call or text…
For North Carolinians to have affordable access to readily available mental health services, health leaders say a cascade of changes need to take place from Medicaid expansion to higher reimbursement rates for providers.
Rising mental health-related emergency room visits, more involuntary commitments and longer wait times for psychiatric hospital beds are symptoms of much larger problems within the state’s mental health system, health experts say.
The heightened demand for behavioral health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic is crashing down on North Carolina’s already fractured mental health system. Hospitals and health leaders are calling for emergency help.
As more mental health patients find themselves handcuffed in a police car headed to a psychiatric hospital, a bipartisan group of lawmakers filed a package of bills that would offer community-based alternatives for people in mental health crisis.
When given the chance to rethink police involvement in responding to people in mental health crisis, most counties maintained the status quo.
This is the third part in an occasional series examining the consequences of North Carolina’s increased use of forced psychiatric treatment.
Advocates found the state had a big problem, but because no one was counting, no one was aware of how many psychiatric patients were being treated against their will.
This is the second story in a series about how more people in mental health crisis end up involuntarily committed for treatment and why that’s a problem.
North Carolina’s use of involuntary commitment for mental health patients increased by 91 percent over a decade. This is the first in an occasional series of stories where we’ll explore what factors are contributing to this rise and what it means for patients.