Mecklenburg County's first urgent care center for mental and behavioral health opens this month
The first urgent care center for mental and behavioral health in Mecklenburg County will open its doors to the public March 20. The goal is to help those experiencing a mental health crisis stay out of the hospital and — in some cases — jail.
Former Carolina Panthers player Steve Smith announced plans last year to establish a new behavioral health urgent care center in Charlotte, in partnership with Mecklenburg County and Alliance Health.
A little over a year later, that plan has become a reality. The county committed $2 million for construction and $750,000 in ongoing operational costs. The Steve Smith Family Foundation and Alliance Health committed $800,000 each for construction costs as well.
Community leaders gathered at a ribbon cutting ceremony held Friday at the facility. Emotional at times, Smith said he wants this center to help people in crisis.
"This building represents for the men and women that will come in here, (when they hopefully because it's outpatient, leave), that they are inspired to say and feel that they are good enough," Smith said.
The center will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will be run by behavioral health care provider Daymark Recovery Services, which currently operates two similar centers in Rockingham and Asheboro.
Deputy County Manager Anthony Trotman says there have been limited options for those experiencing an urgent mental health crisis in the Charlotte area.
"We have the hospital and or the jail. And, you know, that's always been an issue," Troutman said. "Medic does a number of rides to support individuals in crisis, versus really dealing with some of the Medic necessary trips. You know, they're dealing with some behavioral health crisis situations. So I believe this will help this entire ecosystem of services for individuals in need."
The center will also address a gap in care that uninsured people often run into. Trotman says regardless of an individual’s ability to pay, they will be eligible for mental health services.
The new center is located at 616 Colonnade Drive in east Charlotte, near Bojangles Coliseum.
The number for the center is 704-273-3942, although, like a hospital emergency room, it is not necessary to call ahead.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct opening date