Treatment for mental health issues in young children and teenagers is a growing need. Issues that may have been swept aside as growing pains, hormones, or temper tantrums can reach a breaking point that causes self-injury or attempts at suicide.


A new youth crisis center has opened in Charlotte, NC, geared toward treatment for youth ages 6 to 17. Non-profit organization Monarch has partnered with the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) Foundation to open the SECU Youth Crisis Center, a 16-bed facility with the capacity to help 600 kids a year. The center offers care for mental-health and substance-use crisis and provides 24/7 triage, assessment and stabilization. Located near the University of North Carolina Charlotte, the facility is officially open and ready to accept patients.

While Charlotte is the largest metropolitan area in North Carolina, it lacked facilities for inpatient care and treatment for young people. Children have been sent as far as 250 miles from home to Wake, Onslow or New Hanover counties for treatment, often too far from their support system of family and friends for daily interaction. This removal hinders family involvement in treatment, and can be isolating for children facing a mental health crisis.

“The need for a center of this kind in Mecklenburg is critical,” shared Monarch President and CEO Dr. Peggy Terhune in a statement on their site. “We worked with our partners to address this need because we’ve seen far too many families struggle once their child’s mental illness reaches a crisis point and they are simply no longer able to navigate everyday life.”

Monarch provides support statewide to thousands of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, mental illness and substance use disorders. The facility partners with Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, which offers a community-based model of healthcare and support. The treatment center hopes to reduce the number of ER visits for mental health issues, which often costs parents and caregivers more than expected, and may not provide the specialized treatment needed.

“This innovative crisis center will serve as a diversion point for children and adolescents away from emergency departments and inpatient hospitalization and is a critical addition to the system of care,” Monarch’s Terhune said. “This facility and the collaboration of so many amazing partners is an example of the way a community can work together to provide the necessary care for individuals with very complex needs.”

The SECU Youth Crisis Center is the first residential youth facility of its kind to open in North Carolina.

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