Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Strategy

New Hanover County’s Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Strategic Plan was adopted by the Board of Commissioners in September 2022. This strategic plan will help guide the county’s priorities and funding decisions in the coming years, utilizing more than $18.4 million from the nationwide opioid settlement and the county’s $50 million Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Fund. 

The county’s strategy focuses on providing wraparound services for people before, during and after they seek help for a mental health or substance use disorder. This includes components aimed at education and outreach, accessing service and treatment, and helping support recovery and overall wellbeing. Specific measures for each category have been established to help track progress and success. 

Below is an outline of funding recommendations and decisions made to date under each funding source.

The county’s $50 million Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Fund was created through the sale of New Hanover Regional Medical Center. Assets from the fund, including investment earnings, may be utilized by the Board of Commissioners on initiatives related to mental health and substance use in the county, and approved as part of the annual budget process.

Initiatives currently recommended as part of the Fiscal Year 2023-2024 budget are outlined below. For some projects, the full details and program scope are not yet defined but will be shared with the community once approved and finalized:

  • Education and Outreach 
    • Crisis intervention training
    • Public service announcements
  • Access to Services and Treatment 
    • Leading Into New Communities (LINC): $250,000 for 15 new beds for clients with mental health or substance use disorders
    • Coastal Horizons: $250,000 (matched with opioid settlement funds) to increase outpatient treatment for an additional 375 to 500 individuals annually in New Hanover County, with a focus on the uninsured or underinsured. 
    • Coastal Horizons, New Hope CDC, and LINC: A total of $200,000 for enhancing peer support and community outreach services. 
    • Mental health outreach workers, clinicians embedded within 911
    • Employee Assistance Program expansion to NHC first responders
    • Renovations for the Robin Hood Road property to serve as a medical detox and crisis stabilization facility in partnership with Trillium Health Resources and RHA Health
  • Sustainable Recovery and Wellbeing