Let’s work together to solve the Triangle’s mental health crisis

Our area’s mental health challenges have reached the tipping point for all agencies involved.

A summit held Oct. 19 by Wake County leaders found that many residents have unfulfilled needs. Sheriff Donnie Harrison said the situation is so dire that the county jails serve as our No. 1 mental health facility. We need to change this.

These statistics show what is at stake:

  • On any given day, 100 individuals wait in Wake County hospitals for behavioral health crisis services.
  • Each month, 1,000 court ordered in-patient commitments occur, a 111 percent increase in Wake since 2014.
  • One in five adults experience a mental health crisis, meaning up to 200,000 individuals in Wake County are affected.

Summit participants rated and targeted a sustainable approach for preventing and handling this situation for our fellow citizens. Among several findings, they recommended four key priorities:

  • Expand early intervention before charging and sending those with mental health challenge to jail.
  • Expand access to adult mental health services.
  • Provide early intervention and prevention with case management.
  • Expand access and connection to healthcare providers.

These steps can be achieved, but as one advocate whose brother died in a hospital awaiting help noted, they will make a difference only if we create a plan and hold each other accountable.

Triangle Family Services is ready to do that. Please join us in helping to impact this crisis. We need everyone to stay engaged together to implement sustainable plans that help our neighbors, family members and co-workers who struggle with mental health challenges.


Alice Lutz, CFRE

CEO – Triangle Family Services