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Steve Smith gives emotional words about Mecklenburg’s first behavioral health urgent care center

Legendary Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith spoke about what mental health and this special partnership with his foundation means to him.
Legendary Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith spoke about what mental health and this special partnership with his foundation means to him.
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 10:37 PM EST
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County’s budget for Fiscal Year 2022 is providing $2 million to support the creation of the first-ever Behavioral Health Urgent Care in the county in partnership with the Steve Smith Family Foundation.

Mecklenburg County has partnered with The Steve Smith Family Foundation, Alliance Health and Daymark Recovery Services to make this center possible. The collaboration provides an opportunity to bring an essential, proven service model to enhance the county’s crisis service curriculum.

The center will be open 24 hours/7 days a week/365 days a year, located at 616 Colonnade Drive and is expected to be open and operational by Jan. 2023.

The goal of behavioral health urgent care centers is to provide a community-based option to stabilize individuals experiencing behavioral health crises in a way that reduces unnecessary trips to the emergency room, hospitalizations, and even incarcerations.

Steve Smith Family Foundation has a history of collaborating with organizations to provide physical and behavioral health services.

Daymark Recovery Services will serve as the provider. Daymark has three other behavioral health urgent care centers in the state, including Asheboro, Winston-Salem and Rockingham.

The Smith Family Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center will be a designated intervention/treatment location. The urgent care center is aimed to be an alternative to any community hospital emergency department where patients with urgent primary behavioral health needs will receive triage and refuge.

Here are some of the things mentioned in Thursday’s presentation that the behavioral health urgent care center will be able to do.

  • Can receive people under involuntary commitment from law enforcement.
  • Can provide a comprehensive clinical assessment (CCA) 24/7/365 for adults and children
  • Can provide and psychiatric assessment with prescription for people in a mental health crisis
  • Can provide case management, resulting in an appropriate referral to a community partner placement
  • Can provide crisis stabilization and intervention for up to 23 hours per patient (can be longer if needed)
  • Can assist local the Department Of Social Service in caring for children 15 years old and up for an extended period of time
  • Can assist in referral for detox if medically necessary
  • Can lower the number of unnecessary emergency department visits
  • Can be an excellent discharge plan for hospital emergency rooms and inpatient units.

On Thursday afternoon, legendary Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith spoke about what mental health and this special partnership with his foundation means to him.

“I’m not an absentee founder of my foundation. A lot of our programs that we have created are because of things I experienced when I was a young man,” Smith said.

Smith went on to talk about his upbringing and remembering life as a young man.

“I’ve learned what I was, was a young man. I was a Section 8 food stamp recipient. I was an indigent. I had no light and it wasn’t because my mom was lazy or on drugs. It was because that was what we had,” Smith said.

Smith talked about how the city of Charlotte changed his life while being a member of the Carolina Panthers for many years and how he wishes to continue his life going forward.

“But because of what I’ve been blessed with by being an NFL football player, I try to do the same thing. That I learned. It’s not what you do publicly, is what you do privately,” Smith said.

“And 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 and that’s 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 of my family for generations,” Smith said.

Back in 2018, Steve Smith wrote on NFL.com about his personal battle with depression.

“The first time I stepped into a counseling session was in 2002, when I saw a sports psychologist. I was able to retain what helped me reach my peak performance and able to get in the zone, shutting out the noise and negative thoughts on the field. I did that with flying colors, but I wasn’t able to grasp that concept in my life outside of the game. I couldn’t quiet the noise and negative thoughts in my mind. It wasn’t until I stepped away from the game at the end of the 2016 NFL season that I really began to take ownership and understand my personal journey with depression,” Smith said back in 2018.

The Smith Family Behavior Health Urgent Care will provide

  • Rapid assessment/Diagnostic screening
  • Short-term evaluation, stabilization and referral
  • Medication evaluation, start and referral
  • Brief Crisis Counseling
  • Referral Mental Health and Substance Abuse Outpatient Treatment
  • Peer Support Coordination with other community resources
  • Discharge planning and referral to community-based providers and other resources for follow-up care

Based on a projected timeline for the Smith Family Behavioral Health Urgent Care center, construction is set to take place between Jan. 2022 and Dec. 2022, with an anticipated opening in Jan. 2023.

The urgent care center has a $3.6 Million Construction/Upfit budget that includes a $2 million commitment from Mecklenburg County.

Also, the urgent care center has a $1,633,250 annual operating budget that has a $750,000 annual commitment from Mecklenburg County.

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