GARNER, N.C. (WNCN) — Rachel Moorefield has created thousands of suncatchers. The Apex mother said it started as a hobby after she lost her 19-year-old son — Isaiah —who died July 28, 2018, from suicide.
Moorefield said it’s through that grief that she learned her hobby was also providing light for others. She said the suncatchers turned into something larger and have given patients who are hospitalized a sign of hope.
“We’ve been able to give people light in the dark and it’s just a simple way to one, share Isaiah’s light with others and keep his memory alive, and let others know that they’re not in the dark,” said Moorefield.
Moorefield was just one of several people who gathered in Garner Town Hall Friday morning to see WakeMed leaders receive a large check that will prioritize well-being and mental healthcare.
Federal and county funding of $12 million will help support the development of WakeMed’s integrated care campus in Garner which includes a 150-bed hospital dedicated to providing mental healthcare.
Both Congresswoman Deborah Ross and retired Congressman David Price said they’ve worked to secure funding for mental healthcare in North Carolina.
“Our hospitals don’t have enough beds and other institutions are bearing a burden that they are not equipped to bear,” Price said.
WakeMed President and CEO Donald Gintzig said the investment may be a large cost today, but it’s one that will significantly reduce the cost for tomorrow.
‘Gintzig said mental health is a crisis that has grown significantly since the COVID pandemic.
Dr. Micah Krempasky, a psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer of Mental Health and Wellbeing for WakeMed, said she has seen hospitals and healthcare professionals struggling — she said the resources just haven’t been there.
“When we have someone who comes in and needs in-patient psychiatric care, we can only get them to that level of care about 50% of the time,” Krempasky said.
The psychiatrist said patients in a behavioral health crisis sometimes have to wait days, weeks or even months for quality care.
“It’s incredibly frustrating,” she added.
Krempasky said the new mental health hospital that will be located near the intersection of White Oak Road and Timber Drive in Garner will be an integral part of a 220-acre mixed-use district focused on innovation and wellness.
Krempasky said the facility will include a gym, dining area, access to outdoor areas and space for families to gather.
“We’re not just going to do it in the ways of traditional mental healthcare—we’re doing this as a whole health focus… We’re rising to the challenges and we’re making mental health a priority.”
For Moorefield, it’s something that she believes has given families hope. Moorefield recalled the challenges the family faced while trying to help her son.
“We had to drive 2 ½ hours to find him a bed to stay in even though he was in a crisis. As a family, we were left with very little help to get him to where he needed to be to thrive,” Moorefield said.
Through teary eyes, the Apex mother said, “As a mom that’s been going through this and listening to people who have struggled at any age and any background… you are not a burden.” She added, “Everybody matter, everybody deserves to get the help that they need, and everyone deserves to see the light that’s within them.”
Garner Mayor Ken Marshburn, who also spoke during the Friday announcement, said the development is a positive addition to the community and will serve as a vital resource for the growing population in Wake County.