CHARLOTTE — The Steve Smith Foundation and Mecklenburg County are partnering to create Charlotte’s first behavioral health urgent care. Smith, legendary Carolina Panthers wide receiver, presented plans to the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners Thursday afternoon at the county’s annual budget retreat.
The clinic will be a 24/7, 365 urgent care facility dedicated to mental health and substance abuse needs.
Mecklenburg County is investing $2 million to help with construction and will provide $750,000 annually to help with operating costs.
The behavioral health urgent care will be for children and adults and will serve as an alternative to the emergency room for people to receive immediate mental health treatment. Daymark will serve as the provider. Daymark has three other urgent cares of this kind in the state including one in Rockingham.
We spoke to the Hardmans, a family who said this facility brings them hope. They said they have had a hard time getting behavioral therapy for their son who is non-verbal and has autism.
“This facility is giving everyone hope and inspiring everyone to seek help for their family,” said Wendy Hardman. “It gives us somewhere to go.”
Officials said this urgent care could serve 75 people or more every day with messages of encouragement.
The cause is personal for Smith. His mother is a survivor of domestic violence, and he is a passionate advocate for domestic violence prevention and mental health resources.
“It is not what you do publicly. It is what you do privately,” he said. “Privately, I want to honor my wife and I want to honor my children and I want to continue to honor my city that has adopted me. That is my purpose, and when they lay me in the ground here, I want to leave a legacy on this city the same way that they’ve changed the legacy for my family for generations.”
The new center will be located in east Charlotte on Colonnade Drive. It is expected to open in January 2023. The plan came to fruition after Smith had breakfast with assistant county manager Anthony Trotman, where they discussed how the county can improve mental health services for residents.
Steve Smith said the real purpose in picking the location for the behavioral health urgent care facility was that he wanted it to be accessible and affordable.
“This is not a gift from Steve Smith, this is a serviceable project that will need funds and will need more than money,” he said. “People’s time. People’s commitment. It’s everything we need from this community, well beyond saying, ‘hey, good job.’”
(Watch the video below: Steve Smith Family Foundation helping children without a home)
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