The long-awaited Guilford County Behavioral Health Center is now open and this week the county announced that Debra Mack – a former Cone Health director – has been named the director of the center.
The Guilford County Behavioral Health Center is a joint effort of Guilford County government, Cone Health and Sandhills, Inc. – a multi-county management entity that handles many administrative aspects of the operation.
A press release from the county states, “Mack established her skills as a leader in the Behavioral Health arena during her time with Cone Health and Monarch Crisis in Greensboro. Most recently, she has served as the Director of the Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital. As such, she led the child and adolescent unit, therapeutic triage services and the observation unit.”
The new mental health center is a complex operation with three lead entities and multiple community partners. The contractual agreement that created the center basically took two years to bang out. However, medical leaders and elected leaders felt for years that mental health care in Guilford County was lacking, and, therefore, the new mental health campus and a new model for services were needed.
So, Mack will have plenty of balls to juggle as the phased-in center opening continues.
Mack got her bachelor’s degree in nursing from North Carolina A&T State University and received a master’s degree in nursing education from the University of Phoenix.
As the director of Behavioral Health for Guilford County, she will oversee the center’s operations at 931 Third St. in Greensboro.
The new mental health campus, which began its phased-in opening earlier this year, addresses the needs of children, adolescents and adults with mental illnesses and substance use disorders as well as those with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Since a mental health crisis can happen at any time, the center is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The center combines “integrated, or whole-person, behavioral and physical healthcare services that are provided by Cone Health.”
The Guilford County Behavioral Health Center building houses a pharmacy and has space for outpatient and peer counseling services.
In addition to the services offered by Guilford County Government and Cone Health, Sandhills Center has developed a 16-bed child and adolescent center on the campus. Alexander Youth Network has been contracted by Sandhills Center to provide services there.
Mack offered the following statement which notes her excitement about the new project: “Over the years I have seen Guilford County’s dedication to behavioral health and the health care leadership Cone Health has provided to our community. It was a natural decision for me to choose to become a part of the leadership efforts that the outstanding partnership between Guilford County Government, Cone Health, Sandhills Center and Alexander Youth Network can offer people in need through the region. I am looking forward to continuing to work with this incredible Behavioral Health collaboration to help not only care for our patients, but to also achieve the goal of serving as a connector of services within our community. It is important that we work together to close the gaps in the mental healthcare continuum.”
Guilford County Manager Mike Halford stated that Mack has been part of the Behavioral Health landscape in Guilford County for many years. He added that, in every role she has played, she has “demonstrated compassion for both her patients and team members.”
Those who want to know more about the center’s services can visit www.guilfordcountync.gov or call 336-890-2700.