On Wednesday, March 20, the leadership of the Guilford County Republican Party came out solidly behind a new mental health care initiative that Guilford County is embarking on with Cone Health and other partners, and also stated support for a bill proposed earlier this month that would provide $10 million in state funds for the project.

On Wednesday, David Gleeson, chairman of the Guilford County Republican Party, stated, “I am thrilled that this project is happening in Guilford County.”

Gleeson added: “Far too long, mental health has been a political football where rhetoric has taken place instead of action.  With this legislation we will finally address the crisis.”

For years, the mental health care delivery system in Guilford County and across the state has been plagued with problems and now elected leaders and area health officials are attempting a radical overhaul of that system.  One reason the State of North Carolina is inclined to support the effort is that, if successful, the coming Guilford County mental health care system could become a model for counties across the state.  The new system brings together government, mental health care providers, non-profit groups – as well as those who administer the mental health care dollars – into a tightly integrated mental health care system meant to prevent patients from “falling through the gaps.”

Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips has been working with state Reps. Jon Hardister and John Faircloth in recent months to get some support from the NC General Assembly.

On Wednesday, Sebastian King, the executive director of the Guilford County Republican Party, also stated publically his support for the massive undertaking.

“I am proud of the work that Commissioner Phillips and the county commissioners have done in taking meaningful action in addressing the mental health crisis,” King said in a prepared statement. “Through the leadership of Reps. Hardister and Faircloth, the state and county are providing access to care so these people can recover and find opportunity again.”

While the bold new initiative will come at a price – for starters, $20 million for the new adult mental health care center at Maple Professional Park in Greensboro – the backing from the local Republican Party leaders means that, so far at least, everyone who’s spoken out publicly is for the new arrangement.

That means almost everyone believes it’s worth the price tag.

Last week, the Republican delegation of legislators from Guilford County introduced legislation to help fund the program.  That bill would provide $10 million over two years to fund a new $20-million adult mental health care facility.

This coming new state-of-the-art facility is meant to address all aspects of mental health care that the patient needs and it would include physical health care as well for those patients since mental and physical health are often tied closely together.

On Wednesday, the local Republican leaders pointed out that something of this nature has never been attempted before in the state.

Between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, more than 21,550 people received mental health and substance abuse treatment in Guilford County.