Home Local News Sandhills Center, Daymark open regional youth crisis center in Rockingham

Sandhills Center, Daymark open regional youth crisis center in Rockingham

A room in the Child Facility Based Crisis Center at Daymark Recovery Services awaits its first client. Photos by William R. Toler - Richmond Observer

ROCKINGHAM — Troubled children from across the region will soon have a safe place to go.

Sandhills Center and Daymark Recovery Services on Thursday opened a Child Facility Based Crisis Center on U.S. 1, just south of Richmond Senior High School.

The facility will house children ages 6-17 “who are in need of crisis stabilization due to mental health, behavioral health, or substance abuse issues,” according to a press release.

“While at the center, children will have access to trauma-informed care, including psychoeducational groups, individual and group therapy with licensed clinicians, psychiatric services, educational and recreational activities, and general health monitoring by nursing staff,” the release states, adding that aftercare will be coordinated with parents or guardians using a team approach.

While some rooms at the center have a single bed, several have two beds.

The facility has two sections with bedrooms — including a few with two beds — and each has a common area. The children will be divided by age groups: 6-11-year-olds on one side; 12-17-year-olds on the other.

“Sandhills Center appreciates the community collaboration that has factored heavily into the development and enhancement of these important services for our members and their families,” Sandhills Center CEO Victoria Whitt said in a press release. “We are grateful for the positive working relationship we have with Richmond County Government and Daymark Recovery Services. This partnership has advanced our strategic plans to reinvest in behavioral health services throughout the Sandhills Center region.”

Thad Ussery, chairman of the Sandhills Center Board of Directors, welcomes the crowd to the new center.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured representatives of the Sandhills Center, Daymark and Richmond County’s departments of health and social services.
“I don’t need to tell you there’s definitely a need for a youth crisis center,” said Sandhills Board Chairman Thad Ussery.

The former Richmond County Commissioner said he’s been told by law enforcement officers that they’re glad to see a local facility.

Ussery said he hopes that the center will help young people be able to lead productive lives “rather than destroy them.”

Sandhills has a similar facility in Guilford County and one for adults in Randolph County, according to Ussery.

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He added that the center isn’t just for Richmond County, but the entire region.

Sandhills Center’s service area stretches from Rockingham County at the Virginia border to Richmond County at the South Carolina border and also includes Anson, Moore, Hoke, Lee, Montgomery, Harnett, Randolph, Davidson and Guilford counties.

Child psychiatrist Dr. Phillip Nofal uses a nautical analogy to explain the partnership and mission of the new center.

“We’re all here to find safe ports for the children and adolescents of North Carolina, because some of these people have horrible, horrible stories to tell,” said Dr. Phillip Nofal, a child psychiatrist based in Concord, using a nautical analogy.. “And if we can give them a place where they can feel safe, have what their needs are, and plan for their future, we’re sailing God’s ship.”

Daymark CEO Billy West told staff members that working at the center would be a rewarding, but difficult experience.

“You will see a lot of crying and you will see a lot of sadness,” West said, encouraging them to not only take care of the clients, but each other.

The facility is slated to start taking clients on Monday, Aug. 15.

Staff members say there is one child already lined up and they expect more referrals in the near future.

Referrals can be made in person or by calling 910-895-2562.

From left: Dr. Phillip Nofal, child psychiatrist; Billy West, CEO of Daymark; Victoria Whitt, CEO of Sandhills Center; and Thad Ussery, chairman of the Sandhills Center Board of Directors.

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Managing Editor William R. Toler is an award-winning writer and photographer with experience in print, television and online media.