A bill filed this week in the NC House would build a new state psychiatric hospital that would cost $120 million in tax dollars.
The hospital would serve Charlotte and more than a dozen surrounding counties.
A location for the hospital has not been determined, but it could decrease wait time at local emergency rooms.
"This is serious stuff, nothing to laugh about, joke about, this is serious stuff," said Roger Melville with the Charlotte chapter of the National Alliance for Mental Illness.
Melville knows too well how mental illness can affect a family's life. He lost his son to suicide in 2006.
"He had lost all hope," Melville said.
A new bill looks to build a 200-bed mental health hospital to serve 14 counties around Charlotte. The primary sponsor of the bill, Rep. Justin Burr (R-Montgomery), told Eyewitness News the building would be worth it to taxpayers.
"This is an attempt to increase those beds but for our region we are doing the best to meet the needs there," Burr said.
According to a study by the Department of Health and Human Services, the average length of stay for individuals seeking treatment for a behavioral crisis in an emergency room is 15 hours and 52 minutes. Burr said a new mental health hospital could help cut times for all ER patients.
"If you've got beds freed up in the ER, you don't have people waiting to be admitted to a psychiatric hospital," Burr said.
The bill states that there are only 850 inpatient psychiatric beds in North Carolina, creating a problem for prisons, jails, and emergency rooms which are unequipped to handle these kinds of patients.
Melville said it's a start.
"My son might be living right now and speaking here instead of myself," Melville said.
If this bill is passed, the groundbreaking could potentially be in 2015.