Called a ‘model for success,’ advocates seek to bring Durham’s HEART program to Raleigh

Called a 'model for success,' advocates seek to bring Durham's HEART program to Raleigh

Durham’s successful HEART program, which focuses on non-police responses to mental health crises, is gaining attention in Raleigh as residents advocate for a similar initiative. The Holistic Empathetic Assistance Response Team (HEART) has been operating in Durham since June 2022, responding to over 8,000 calls and earning praise for its success. Now, it covers the entire city and operates 12 hours a day, every day.

In Raleigh, mental health professionals like Dorine Martin from Mindology Raleigh are witnessing the need for dedicated crisis response teams. Many residents are calling for a program similar to HEART, emphasizing the importance of compassionate, empathetic, and trained professionals who can de-escalate situations and provide trauma-informed care.

The city of Raleigh has opened a public feedback website where residents can express their support for a HEART-like program. Comments highlight the need for experts who can identify individuals’ needs and recommend appropriate treatment. The initiative has already garnered hundreds of responses from professionals eager to contribute to empathetic crisis response efforts.

The public feedback website will remain open until March 10th, providing residents with an opportunity to voice their opinions on alternative response programs. In-person meetings are also being conducted to gather thoughts and ideas, with the next session scheduled for December 16th at the Southgate Food Lion from 1 to 4 p.m. The overwhelming response from professionals in the field indicates strong support for creating a dedicated crisis response program in Raleigh.