The blow came quick. On Sept. 18, Henderson and seven other mountain counties learned the region's largest mental health care provider would shut down in one month because of money woes.
The news frightened many mental health patients, still confused by the state-mandated reform of 2001.
They weren't alone. Homeless shelters, police officers, hospitals and government leaders feared the worst when New Vistas-Mountain Laurel announced it would close Oct. 31.
But the community responded just as fast, and Henderson County diverted a crisis.
Western Highlands, which manages mental health care in the region, found providers who could help the mentally ill once Mountain Laurel closed.
The Free Clinics launched a free psychiatric clinic in December to help the people most in need, those who lack health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare and state reimbursements.
The Henderson County Board of Commissioners saved the Sixth Avenue West Clubhouse from being sold, voting to buy the clubhouse for $333,200.
Rosalie Hurst, a 91-year-old retired hardwood flooring dealer, offered to match up to $75,000 in community donations to the clubhouse.
Henderson County diverted a crisis, for now.
The statewide outlook remains bleak.
A recent study reported North Carolina needs to spend $2.7 billion over five years to correct the mental health system. Legislators doubt $500 million a year will be possible.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Posted by david at 8:53 AM Permalink