It’s Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and we’ve got some more mental health news for you. In August Holly Hill Hospital, a psychiatric care facility located in Raleigh, received the green light for a 32-bed expansion. The new addition will be a three-story building located near the hospital’s main campus.

This is the latest in a series of expansion at the facility. In 2013, Holly Hill added 108 beds, bringing its total current capacity to 228. We like this trend: the new hospital in Cherry Point we recently reported on, plus this expansion, put hundreds more sorely needed mental health beds in our state.

More, please. According to recent surveys of services, in 2015 there was a significant reduction in the number of beds available in such facilities, down to 850 from a high of 1,755 in 2001. While many lawmakers hoped for additional funding to meet the need, particularly from the $25 million sale of the Dorothea Dix Hospital property, services are still lacking statewide. This is especially true in rural areas, which are more likely to lack specialized care.

For patients, the end result tends to be emergency room visits, leading to long wait times for much-needed care and increased cost to both patients and care providers. For anyone who’s touched by a loved one’s mental health issue, this could mean a lot of frustration. And for you, it could lead to higher healthcare costs. So for all of our sakes, let’s continue to encourage efforts to address mental healthcare in our state.

Learn more about the Holly Hill expansion here.

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