CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Mental Health Foundation says mental health problems affect one in 10 children and young people. Those numbers are the reason why Monarch opened a Youth Crisis Center in Charlotte back in December 2017. It was the first one of its kind in North Carolina.
About 18 months after opening the center has been busy. Leaders say 580 young people from the ages of 6 -17 years old have come to the crisis center in need of help.
"Having these 580 kids has made an impact on schools," Exec. Vice President Monarch Blake Martin said. "We are seeing kids stay in school longer - it has had an impact on families. We are seeing children get the treatment they need and stabilize that crisis."
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and Monarch is using what's happening at the Crisis Center to remind the community there is support to help kids and their families.
"Keep these families in their treatment," Martin said. "Keep the families together and make sure treatment doesn't stop here, but recovery starts here and continues on far past their stay."
Chika Bloomfield knows first-hand about the work of Monarch. She has three sons and two of them were in need of mental health. One child is 13 years old.
"He has mental health issues," Mother Chika Bloomfield said. "With ADHD along with impulsivity, so he was doing a lot and it was stressful with him."
And the mother says her 8-year-old suffered from mental issues as well.
“Couldn’t stay still,” the mother said. “Running out of the school - misbehaving. He was doing the most. I was down to my last little end. I was stressed out every day.”
Bloomfield didn’t know about Monarch. A friend told her about it. She went to the site and dropped her 13-year-old off. He stayed in the 16-bed facility for a week to get the help he needed.
"It was hard for me," she said. "I cried - I cried but I knew it was for a better cause."
After her 13-year-old son got out, her 8-year-old had to be admitted to Monarch. She says the program helped and her boys are handling their mental health better.
"They took them through group sessions," Bloomfield said. "Individual sessions and they worked with them."
Monarch counselors can see up to 15 patients a day. Counselors say if they are admitted, they are dealing with major mental health issues.
“A lot of times it means they are threatening harm to self or others,” Monarch Counselor E. Marie Graczyk-Holt said. “They are saying they want to kill myself - I want to die. We also see kids that are actively psychotic - like hearing voices, seeing things. We also have kids that are in extreme state of rage cause their medications aren’t working or they weren’t medicated before - it runs the gambit.”
Bloomfield says this crisis with her children hits close to home.
"I work in the mental health field," the mother said. "And I never thought I had to deal with it in my own household."
Bloomfield wants parents to know not to be embarrassed to get their children the help they need. She says she will do what needs to be done so her kids can remain mentally well.
“I am taking every necessary step,” Bloomfield said. “I’m their momma that’s going to go above and beyond and I am always going to have their back and I am going to walk with them. We are going to do it together.”
Monarch does use insurance but says it will not turn away a kid in crisis because of money.