About a decade and a half ago, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners held a work session to discuss the complex nature of mental health care services in the county.
In the first-floor Blue Room of the Old Guilford County Court House, the commissioners spoke enviously of counties in the state that had a “single portal” or a “no wrong door” system for mental, drug and behavioral health problems.
Cut to May 2023, years after a massive overhaul of the county’s mental health and substance abuse treatment services, and the county can finally tell everyone what door to use. Anyone experiencing a behavioral or mental health crisis is being encouraged to go to the front door of the Behavioral Health Urgent Care at 931 Third St. in Greensboro.
No appointment is necessary. The center is open 24/7 and, according to county mental health officials, your visit will always remain confidential.
It has taken years of effort to plan and get the county’s new mental health center up and running and now Guilford County mental health professionals have the job of letting the public know that the service is available.
Guilford County Behavioral Health Director Debra Mack said that now there’s always a place to go for those facing emotional crisis.
“When a mental or behavioral health crisis hits, there is someone to call, someone to respond and some place to go in Guilford County,” Mack said. “At the Behavioral Health Center, we can also help identify any underlying medical conditions contributing to someone’s mental health concerns.”
Mack added that the center provides a “wholistic, non-judgmental space to heal” for everyone in Guilford County who needs help.
The county has taken other steps recently as well to inform county residents and mental health care providers about new options. The county has launched a new mental health webpage with information on mental and behavioral health resources and is also using social media to inform residents of new options and to let service providers know where they can get their questions answered.
Later in May, Guilford County is launching a companion services guide for mental health professionals in the area.
Old contact options remain in place as well. Those with mental issues can still call or text 988, the well-publicized and well-known national suicide and crisis line, to speak with a trained crisis counselor for free.
One impressive thing about the 988 number is that it’s almost universally accessible due to interpretation services in more than 150 languages.
This May, which has been deemed Mental Health Awareness Month in Guilford County, the county is advertising the 988 National Crisis Lifeline as well as the Behavioral Health Center resources through the community newsletters, online sites and television commercials.