NCDHHS Invests $22 Million in Community Crisis Centers and Peer Respite in North Carolina

As part of an ongoing effort to transform North Carolina’s behavioral health crisis response system, the NC Department of Health and Human Services has announced a $22 million investment to expand community crisis centers and peer respite care across the state.

This investment will increase North Carolina’s capacity for community-based crisis treatment by 20%, helping to ensure people experiencing a behavioral health crisis have alternative options to emergency departments or community and state psychiatric hospitals when seeking care.

“We’re making big changes to North Carolina’s behavioral health care system,” said NC Health and Human Services Secretary Kody H. Kinsley. “We’re building more options for the right level of care when someone is in crisis, and better services upstream to help prevent people ever needing crisis resources in the first place.”

NCDHHS’ investment will support five new community crisis centers (called Facility-Based Crisis Centers) for adults in Alamance, Forsyth, New Hanover, Pitt and Vance counties and three new community crisis centers for children in Gaston, Pitt and Vance counties. Facility-Based Crisis Centers provide short-term inpatient mental health stabilization and substance use detox for people in the community who otherwise would need to go to a hospital. The new investment will create an additional 60 beds for adults and 44 beds for children, increasing the state’s capacity for community crisis stabilization by 20% and helping to reduce the burden on emergency rooms, community and state psychiatric hospitals for crisis stabilization inpatient services.

The department partnered with Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organizations (LME/MCOs) to select locations based on several criteria, including regional data on the number of individuals waiting for behavioral health care in emergency departments and the center’s proximity to other community behavioral health services that would help individuals successfully return home with wrap-around care and services. The new centers will join a network of 24 facility-based crisis centers in 22 other counties across the state.

In addition to increasing access to Facility-Based Crisis Centers, part of the $22 million investment will be used to support a new Peer Respite Center in Wake County. NCDHHS is partnering with Alliance Health and Promise Resource Network (PRN) to add a 4-bedroom peer respite program in Wake County. This will be the third peer respite program in North Carolina.

“Sometimes, people experiencing a mental health or substance use crisis just need two things: a quiet, safe place to go and a conversation with someone who gets it,” said Kelly Crosbie, MSW, LCSW, Director of the NCDHHS Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Services. “Peer respite services are such an important part of our behavioral health crisis response system because they offer non-clinical support from people who know what it’s like to work through their own mental health or substance use struggles and live a fulfilling, productive and happy life in recovery.”

Community-based peer respite programs are a voluntary resource for people seeking mental health, substance use or behavioral health crisis support. The program’s home-like setting is among the least restrictive options for behavioral health treatment, offering 24-hour access to Peer Support Specialists who provide support from the perspective of lived experience.

More than $130 million of the historic $835 million investment in behavioral health in the 2023 state budget is dedicated to improving North Carolina’s crisis response system. Behavioral health urgent care centers, Facility-Based Crisis Centers and peer respite programs are part of a package of new investments in a continuum of services that will advance North Carolina’s behavioral crisis response system by improving options from the moment of crisis to the point of care. These facilities increase the number of spaces where someone can go to get behavioral health care when in crisis.

NCDHHS will continue to invest in community-based resources across the state that strengthen the behavioral health system and ensure access to services whenever and wherever children and families need help.

If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis right now, help is available to anyone, anytime. Call or text 988 or chat at People who speak Spanish can now connect directly to Spanish-speaking crisis counselors by calling 988 and pressing option 2, texting “AYUDA” to 988, or chatting online at or For additional support, call the NCDHHS Peer Warmline at 1-855-PEERS NC (855-733-7762) to speak with a peer support specialist, someone who understands.

The NCDHHS Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Use Services hosts a monthly webinar, “Side By Side with DMHDDSUS,” to provide updates on the department’s investments in behavioral health and solicit input from stakeholders and the public. For more information, or to register as an attendee for one of these webinars, please visit the Side By Side meeting registration link. 

Written by NCDHHS.