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New Center Gives People In Mental Health Crisis Alternative To The E.R.

A picture of a woman with a hand on her face.
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Cape Fear Valley's new Roxie Avenue Behavioral Healthcare Center is up and running.

Behavioral Health Services Director Doug Webster says the Fayetteville facility is meant to free up beds in the hospital, where people can wait days for mental health treatment.

Webster says, left untreated, such crises can escalate.

North Carolina also has behavioral health centers in Durham and Raleigh. In Fayetteville, Webster says they’re serving members of the military and civilians alike.

“A veteran or a soldier or whatever may feel uncomfortable reporting on base. This is a place where they could come.”

Webster adds that children of veterans have also benefited from care there.

The center offers a timely Crisis Evaluation Service to connect patients with care, whether it's detox therapy, a change in meds, or just a private room to cool off and regroup. Four rooms with reclining chairs give patients a safe space to calm down.

Webster says fewer than 10-percent of patients have returned since its soft opening last February.

“But that's okay, because some people go through periods of crisis that may last for anywhere from two-to-six weeks, and then it seems to settle down. So we're good with people coming back because this is an alternative for them, versus going through the emergency department.”

The center will open four more rooms in the next month.

Rebecca Martinez produces podcasts at WUNC. She’s been at the station since 2013, when she produced Morning Edition and reported for newscasts and radio features. Rebecca also serves on WUNC’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accountability (IDEA) Committee.
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