Burke County Ramps Up Access to Behavioral Health Treatment

With support from the Trust, a local integrated care service provider is redesigning how to provide residents access to mental health and substance abuse treatment options. This investment is part of Healthy Places NC—the Trust’s long-term commitment to improving the health of residents in the state’s rural, under-resourced counties.

Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare (CVBH)—a nonprofit, comprehensive service provider that coordinates behavioral health and primary care to those in need—will receive $513,594 to increase case management capacity in the community. The goal is to ensure the most at-need residents, such as those living in poverty, experiencing homelessness and mental health issues, receive access to treatment options. In addition to increasing services, people will be able to access both behavioral and medical care and needed social support in one place.

The grant is the result of a partnership between CVBH and Burke Integrated Health (BIH) formed under a previous capital grant awarded to CVBH in 2015.  BIH is a collaborative effort involving five organizations—Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare, Cognitive Connections, A Caring Alternative, Community Care of North Carolina and High Country Community Health—with the mission to create an integrated service hub. The hub provides a behavioral and primary health care one-stop shopping location for the community.

“The Burke County Health Assessment identified mental health, substance use and poverty as the three top health priorities to improve wellness for our communities and this work hits on all three,” said John Waters, CEO, Catawba Valley Behavioral Healthcare. “Connecting all people with services they need is a part of what I like to call our community moonshot. Our goal is to link our most vulnerable citizens at the micro level with necessary resources in a holistic approach —whether that be transportation to and from appointments, enrolling in benefits, diverting them from the legal system when treatment is a better choice. At the macro level we are going to help strengthen connections between community resources that will ultimately help support the social service delivery system for all of Burke County. This county has a rich tradition of people coming together to help one another and this project will build on that tradition.”

In addition to increasing its case management efforts, the grant will contribute to increasing child psychiatry services, another growing priority area in Burke County. The funding also will allow for the opportunity to bring in consultants to look at the system to examine current resources, and to make them more efficient.

The funding is part of a series of grants awarded by the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust to organizations across the state. Selected projects are driven by the community’s concerns, and the Trust works in partnership with residents toward sustainable, long-term change.

“The work happening in Burke County really focuses on the importance of treating the whole person and acknowledging the social determinants of health—housing, food security, transportation, just to name a few,” said Dr. Laura Gerald, president of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. “The work exemplifies how a community comes together in a collaborative way to rethink and reshape the delivery of care.”

Burke County is part of the Trust’s Healthy Places NC initiative. The Trust plans to invest $100 million in 10 to 12 rural counties. To date, the Trust has invited seven counties—McDowell, Beaufort, Burke, Halifax, Rockingham, Edgecombe and Nash Counties—to participate.