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Mental Health ProvidersRaleigh-Durham


The Tampa Bay Partnership tracks Mental Health Providers per 10,000 Residents because it provides a high-level indicator to track community access to mental health resources. Raleigh-Durham ranks 5th with 37.23 providers per 10,000 residents. This is nearly double Tampa Bay (rank 17) at 16.04 providers per 10,000 residents.


While it can be difficult to assess core incentives that create and attract new mental health providers, various initiatives are underway to address the mental health crisis. Given Raleigh-Durham’s standing in the 2023 Regional Competitiveness Report, we have explored several unique programmatic approaches that collectively move towards improving access and support for those in need.


Mental health is a complex issue. Outcomes can vary by demographic factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status. The Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) produced by Wake County typically analyzes the impacts of social determinants of health, such as poverty, education, housing, and employment.  

Nationally, the United States has experienced a steep increase in mental health distress. While assessing core incentives that create, attract, and support existing mental health providers is challenging, many regions are pursuing wrap-around services and improving coordination and efficiency of linking residents to the correct resources when experiencing mental health concerns, including addiction, depression, and more.    

Some approaches to improve access for those in need are outlined below.   

The Mental Health Ambassadors program, founded in 2021, is a collaboration between the City of Raleigh and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) North Carolina. Community members are trained to recognize signs of mental health distress and connect those individuals to resources and support.  

Additionally, like many metros across the nation, mental health providers in Raleigh-Durham worked to expand their telehealth services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This increased accessibility for individuals who were able to receive care from the comfort of their homes. For individuals without transportation or who live rurally, digital appointments are a crucial development. Additionally, new technology can help individuals track their mental health symptoms and provide them with personalized support and resources.   

Raleigh-Durham notes that affordability concerns have had a significant impact on residents. The cost of mental health care can be a barrier to service, especially if residents are underinsured or uninsured. While the cost of care can delay or cause individuals to avoid treatment, this can lead to more severe health impacts over time. Disparities in access to care also reflect the outcomes among different socioeconomic groups, including low-income individuals and people of color.   

The Healing with CAARE Program and the Triangle Family Services are two organizations that now offer sliding scale fees or free services to individuals who require mental health support and cannot afford to pay for care. Additionally, the Healing with CAARE program is a community-based mental health initiative geared towards Black and African American populations in Durham. Communities of color face disproportionately high mental health risks. They may be less likely to seek medical care due to generational caution linked to the historic bias and racism of members of the Black and Brown community by doctors and mental health professionals. This program addresses these disparities by providing culturally responsive care.  

The UNC Center for Excellence in Community Health is a partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill and other mental health organizations across the Triangle region that are also pursuing community-led outreach. By tailoring outreach to cultural and socioeconomic groups, insiders can more adeptly navigate language considerations and cultural sensitivities to reduce stigma and connect those needing resources. The center has worked to improve access to care for underserved communities, support providers, and promote evidence-based practices in mental health care.   

Raleigh-Durham has made progress in addressing barriers to healthcare access. By creating cost-effective solutions, digital solutions, and culturally responsive outreach, residents in need are more likely to receive care from mental health providers.