Governor McCrory Announces Creation of Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force
Governor Pat McCrory established today the North Carolina Mental Health and Substance Use Task Force, a panel that will bring together the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government and key stakeholders to make recommendations that will improve the lives of citizens with mental illness and substance use disorders.
“Our goal is to improve collaboration between health care, justice and safety professionals using existing resources,” Governor McCrory said. “If we improve these linkages, we offer the best hand up to those in need – especially our young people.”
The task force will be co-chaired by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina Mark Martin and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos, M.D. This will be one of the first endeavors to bring the three branches of government together to collaborate on tackling Mental Health and Substance Use issues in North Carolina. Senator Tamara Barringer and Representative Susan Martin will serve on the task force.
“On a daily basis, courtrooms across our state serve those who struggle with mental health and substance use issues,” Chief Justice Martin said. “My hope is that this task force will, among other things, examine the role and effectiveness of mental health and other specialty courts currently operating in North Carolina.”
The task force will submit findings and strategic recommendations to Governor McCrory by May 1, 2016 for improving the lives of North Carolina youth and adults with mental illness and substance use disorders and their families. To read the full version of the Executive Order, click here.
“Mental Health and substance use issues are among the most important health issues that we face as a state for the next decade,” said Secretary Wos, M.D. “Increased collaboration between all branches of government will assist in providing appropriate treatment for people with mental illness and substance use disorders.”
The task force seeks to reduce stigma and encourage people to seek help before their situation becomes a crisis – and they end up in an emergency department or jail. Appropriate treatment and early intervention can result in significant benefits for individuals, families, communities and taxpayers. The task force will be comprised of experts from the justice system and related private sector professionals, the healthcare provider community, county leadership, non-governmental entities and private sector employers.