Now that the COVID-19 pandemic is subsiding, state and local health officials are no longer devoting almost all of their resources to the coronavirus.

That’s a good thing because there are a  lot of other pressing health concerns facing state residents that need to be addressed.  A series of town hall meetings to be held by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is now focusing on mental health solutions.

In recent years, Guilford County has completely overhauled its mental health services, and, this fall, the county created a task force on homelessness. Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston said that the county must address mental health issues when addressing homelessness, since mental issues are often a large component of the homelessness problem.

Now, the NCDHHS Secretary Kody Kinsley and Deputy Secretary for Health Mark Benton, alongside state legislators Senator Jim Burgin and Representative James Gailliard, will be focusing on the problem of mental health in the state as well.   The group will host a town hall in Nashville, North Carolina Thursday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m. to discuss mental health issues in the state.

In many ways, this is a logical area of focus after the pandemic since so many people were affected emotionally by being isolated and in constant fear. NCDHHS now estimates that more than three million people in North Carolina have mental health issues or substance use disorders.

State residents are encouraged to attend the town halls, ask questions and contribute to the conversation.

At the event, Secretary Kinsley, Sen. Burgin and Rep. Gailliard will take questions from attendees and comment on key policy issues.

State officials haven’t stated plans to stream the events.

The Oct. 27 town hall will be in the Nash County Commissioners Room at the Claude Mayo, Jr. Administration Building at 120 W. Washington St. Nashville.

NCDHHS and state legislators will be hosting the next mental health town hall in in Kenansville on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022.

Additional details and any additional Mental Health town hall dates will be announced at a later time.