GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Sometimes people see the warning signs, sometimes they don’t, when it comes to mental and behavioral health.
It’s one of the many challenges communities and families face each day.
The new Guilford County Behavioral Health Center in Greensboro is a one-stop shop for people to get the help they need before it’s too late.
It’s a place where people can come, 24 hours a day if they’re in a crisis, or just recognize that they need someone to talk to.
It’s the first of its kind in the state and provides services that have never been offered in Guilford County, until now.
“This is going to be a life-changer for the community for those in need of behavioral health services. It really will,” said Kay Cashion, Guilford County commissioner at-large.
Not know where to get help, is the number one obstacle for people trying to get help.
“I have so many friends who have lost children to substance abuse. One who lost a child to suicide this past year,” Cashion said. “None of them knew where to go for help.”
She told FOX8 that county commissioners spent four years and $20 million pushing for a new comprehensive site, filled with beds for extended care, comfortable living room spaces for support groups, an on-site pharmacy, and rooms for one-on-one sessions.
“I know there will be a lot of people who will be here longer, who will be happier and healthier because they’ve had access to those services,” Cashion said.
“That’s the beauty of the place, is that you can customize care of someone based on their needs,” said Dr. Archana Kumar, the medical director for Behavior Health Services at Cone Health.
She said that the moment someone walks through the doors at the new facility, the help begins.
“You’re going to have someone at the front desk, who is going to ask you a few questions like what you are looking for,” Kumar said. “Someone says, I’m in crisis or I need an assessment, or I’m not sure what I need.”
The goal is to redirect people to one of these two buildings, built through a partnership with Cone Health, Sandhills, and the Alexander Youth Network, instead of having to take them to jail.
“It’s really important [to have] early detection and treatment. I think that’s the key to success for any community,” Kumar said.
To do that, there needs to be a major change in the conversation about mental health.
“One of the obstacles is the stigma attached to mental health,” Cashion said. “We’ve got to get people to understand it’s an illness.”
“It’s just education in the community. The more we educate, the more we’re willing to talk about it. The more we are willing to be open, gives people the ability [to get help],” Kumar said.
The 60,000-square-foot facility has been busy since the doors opened on Saturday.
On Wednesday alone, they had 50-60 outpatient appointments.