BUTNER, N.C. (WNCN) — Children in North Carolina struggling with mental health concerns will now have a new place to go and get help thanks to a partnership between UNC Health and the Department of Health and Human Services.
The facility in Butner, called Youth Behavioral Health, is located at 100 West H Street.
“The youth mental health crisis right now—it’s a tsunami. Kids are getting swept away. Being able to have these services is so important,” Barbara-Ann Bybel, Director and Vice Chair Psychiatry Services with UNC Health said.
Organizers behind the facility said it will serve children ages 12-18 and provide them with a wide range of treatments.
“We have psychology, occupational therapy, social work physicians, psychiatrists and pediatricians,” Dr. Michael Zarzar, the Medical Director of the facility, said.
“It’s not just medication-based, teaching, teaching skills to help kids cope with the world, we’re going to have music, exercise, we have a yoga therapist on staff,” Bybel added.
The 54-bed facility has been in the works for a few months now after UNC Health leased the building from the Department of Health and Human Services. Staff say it comes a time when kids in the state need this treatment more than ever.
“Right now, in North Carolina, suicide is the second leading cause of death in high school aged children, ages 12-17 and it has increased ever since the pandemic,” Dr. Zarzar said.
The building is slated to officially open at the end of this month. Staff say they expect to treat around 800 kids per year.