What is 988?

How REAL Crisis Center Is Changing Mental Healthcare in North Carolina

Earlier this year, Mental Health America reported that North Carolina ranks 39 in the nation for access to mental healthcare. Particularly in rural areas, North Carolinians face disproportionate barriers to care due to issues like gaps in insurance coverage and an absence of local mental health specialists.


Amid these hurdles, REAL Crisis Center has emerged as a beacon of hope. With a mission rooted in compassion and accessibility, our team is committed to providing cost-free survivor support services, connecting those in crisis with resources that make a difference, and answering calls to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline from across the state. 


In the face of these challenges, REAL Crisis Center is dedicated to transforming the landscape of mental healthcare in North Carolina. We are at the forefront of bridging the gaps in mental healthcare accessibility by leveraging technology and virtual support services. Through innovative approaches, we are breaking down geographical barriers, ensuring that vital mental health resources reach those who most need them. 


REAL Crisis Center: Who We Are 

Founded in 1975, REAL Crisis Center has established itself as a pillar of support for individuals in crisis and survivors of traumatic experiences. Since then, our organization has continuously evolved and expanded its services to bring much-needed interventions and survivor support services to the state’s eastern region. 


A dedicated team of compassionate volunteers and staff is at the heart of REAL Crisis Center. They are the driving force behind our organization, working tirelessly to ensure that individuals in need receive the support and care they deserve. Our team undergoes extensive training, equipping them with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide empathetic listening, crisis intervention, and valuable resources to those reaching out for help. 


We understand that crisis situations can arise at any time, which is why our team is available 24/7 to answer calls to the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. Whether it’s a late-night call from a distressed individual or an urgent situation that requires immediate attention, our team is here to provide a compassionate and non-judgmental response. 


In addition to our crisis response services, REAL Crisis Center is dedicated to bridging the gap in mental healthcare through outreach efforts. Our outreach team provides education, training, and resources to local organizations, free of charge. We also provide a two-day course in Applied Suicide Intervention Skills (ASIST) training to equip anyone over the age of 18 with the knowledge and skills to identify the risk or any signs of imminent suicide.  


988 in North Carolina 

The 988 Suicide and Crisis Hotline represents a profound shift in the way mental health crises are addressed and prioritized in North Carolina. REAL Crisis Center has been at the forefront of this monumental change, having partnered with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services since 2012 to operate the NC Suicide Prevention Lifeline call center. When the national number transitioned to 988 in 2022, REAL Crisis Center expanded its services further to meet the evolving needs of individuals in crisis, incorporating a 24/7 chat and text response option to further support the accessibility of digital mental health interventions. 


The implementation of digital interventions through chat and text response not only expands the reach of the NC Suicide Prevention Lifeline but also aligns with the changing landscape of communication and technology. Many individuals, particularly younger generations, are accustomed to digital interactions and may find it easier to express their emotions and seek help through text-based platforms. By incorporating these digital avenues, REAL Crisis Center ensures that individuals can reach out for assistance in the way that suits them best, ultimately reducing barriers and promoting access to mental health support. 


Get Involved 

We offer a range of volunteer opportunities that allow individuals to contribute their time and skills in various areas, including event planning, survivor support, and more. Our volunteers play a crucial role in helping us fulfill our mission and positively impact our community. 


We also offer student internships for college students who are interested in gaining hands-on experience in the field of crisis counseling. These internships provide an opportunity to work alongside experienced counselors, participate in training programs, and contribute to our important work in supporting individuals in crisis.  


If you’re passionate about mental health and want to make a difference, we invite you to explore our employment opportunities and consider joining our dedicated team of crisis counselors. Visit our careers page to learn more about current openings or reach out to us directly for more information on how you can get involved and help us continue providing essential services to our community. 


At REAL Crisis Center, we take pride in being at the forefront of breaking the stigma and challenging barriers to mental healthcare. We believe that no one should face mental health challenges alone, and with the support of our community, dedicated staff, and volunteers, we are making a positive impact on the lives of individuals in crisis. Together, we are changing the landscape of mental healthcare in North Carolina, one person and one call at a time.