First Mental Health Crisis Center for Kids Opens In Charlotte

Jan 31, 2018

Kids going through a mental health crisis in Charlotte now have the option to go to a crisis center rather than an emergency room. A new facility in the city’s University area opened last month to treat kids and teenagers. The state health department says it’s the first of its kind to open in North Carolina.  

Kids who come to the youth crisis center stay in rooms that are built to keep them from hurting themselves.
Credit Alex Olgin / WFAE

The windows don’t open, the doors of the patient rooms swing both ways and the outlets make it almost impossible to electrocute yourself. These are just a few of the ways the new crisis center helps keep patients from hurting themselves. Kids in the midst of a mental health crisis can now come to Monarch’s youth crisis center in Charlotte for up to a week to get help.

“I’ve been in the emergency room with children. I’ve been with children who are holding the knife trying to hurt themselves and I’m trying to take it away," says Peggy Terhune, the CEO of Monarch. "Or the child who grabs their pills and who says I’m going to take all of these because I don’t want to live anymore. We are stopping that.”

Kids between 6 and 17 can go to the 16-bed center. Terhune said kids will also get set up with other services before they are discharged.

The center will be able to serve more 600 kids a year, and is open to people whether or not they have insurance.

Its official name is the State Employees Credit Union Youth Crisis Center because the credit union’s foundation contributed $750,000. The state dedicated $2.2 million. Monarch wouldn’t reveal the full cost of the center. 

Although this is the first of its kind to open in North Carolina, Eric Harbour of the Department of Health and Human Services says more are coming. 

“This is not a one stop opportunity. We have a child facility based crisis in Asheville and in Wake County that are under construction at this time and hope to be open in the next year," he said. "Then two additional facilities. It’s not enough but it’s a start.”

Monarch officials says the center has served 12 kids so far, including three teenagers who are currently receiving treatment.