Local News

Feds respond to complaints about N.C. mental health services

Posted November 24, 2010

— The United States Justice Department has notified North Carolina that it plans to investigate claims made in a complaint filed last summer by Disability Rights North Carolina.

The advocacy group alleges that mentally ill people are being housed in adult care homes that lack the qualifications to care for people with psychiatric disabilities.

Disability Rights claims thousands of people with mental illness do not have appropriate alternatives for care, a situation which they say violates federal law.

"The state has been struggling with trying to find a way to develop appropriate community services and they failed to do so, not because the current secretary of DHHS (the Department of Health and Human Services) doesn't have a vision but because he can't get funding for that vision," said Vicki Smith, a spokeswoman for Disability Rights.

Smith said the investigation is a huge first step to correcting mental health reform in North Carolina.

In a letter to DHHS, the Department of Justice asked for specific information by the middle of December.

A DHHS spokesman said it will cooperate.


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  • pamslaff Nov 25, 2010

    The bottom line is nobody who is in office cares about the mentally ill. Just push them into the backwoods where nobody can see them. Out of sight, out of mind.

  • commonsensical Nov 25, 2010

    What I have personally seen is that the beds that are allocated in a particular county are awarded to friends and family of those involved in the process. Those people then hire more friends and family as managers and caregivers, and house their patients in old, cheap buildings that are not well maintained. It's the standard North Carolina good ol' boy money racket.

  • RB-1 Nov 24, 2010

    Every single county in a state should have at least one fully accredited facility that provides long-term care for the disabled, the elderly and the mentally challenged.

    Without that, we are going back to Victorian days where people with all kinds of problems were put together in huge facilities where no one cared.

    If each county had their own, no patient would be too far away from those who love them, but are unable to care for them.

    Why is that too much to ask for in NC???

  • RB-1 Nov 24, 2010

    "Disability Rights claims thousands of people with mental illness do not have appropriate alternatives for care, a situation which they say violates federal law."

    I agree.

    I think disability, mental and aged care in this state is abysmal, and am blessed to hear it will be investigated - thoroughly I pray.

  • bekindinnc Nov 24, 2010

    I am glad to see the feds take notice & hope they are able to help the situation.

  • See Chart Nov 24, 2010

    If a county in NC can't take care of it's mental
    patients they usually try to send them to a bigger
    city,local voluntary Psychiatric inpatient care in mostly not there such as in Wilson, truly not such a small city,at that.
    This is not acceptable and backwards.