New 911 call center program helps callers with mental health issues, trauma

Emergency calls from across the county pour in from people on their worst days.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 6:36 PM EST
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - New Hanover County’s 911 call center is always busy with emergency calls from across the county pouring in from people on their worst day.

Not only do dispatchers help people in an emergency, the county’s new CARE program helps them deal with the trauma after a crisis is over.

“I think the program will be very instrumental in creating another avenue for our citizens to have for follow-up after an emergency,” Roscoe Harris, quality and training specialist, said.

CARE stands for community, assistance, response, and engagement, and it’s a team of licensed mental health professionals with backgrounds in crisis intervention.

“What happens is, even someone contemplating suicide, or someone who’s in a domestic situation, anyone who may need mental help or first aid of any kind of assistance, what we will do is use everyone to give them access to the CARE team,” Harris said.

They connect people who need resources and support across the county.

“Maybe the individual of their family members need additional support. They can ask the dispatcher, the telecommunicator, please put that on the notes for having a care team responder call the person back,” Mary Mack, CARE program organizer, said.

Allowing people to get long-term help instead of a quick fix.

“The CARE team has been very instrumental in making sure that we can have that follow-up, and it’s been successful, so we’re very happy about it and were excited for what it’s gonna do in the future,” Harris said.

Bringing mental health to the forefront one call at a time.