GARNER, N.C. (WTVD) -- Local Emergency Rooms are under pressure to help those facing mental health episodes.
Last year, WakeMed Hospital admitted 4,000 adults and children with suicidal thoughts. That represents a 15 percent increase from the previous year.
Victor Chambers knows people suffering, but they're having difficulty accessing resources.
"(They're) just mostly peers. I'm still kind of young myself so it's very prevalent in my age range,' said Chambers.
Wake County is committing about $30 million every year to support behavioral health services, but a newly released report shows there are several gaps in getting people the help they need.
The report notes that right now "there is an overreliance on calling 911 for behavioral health crisis" and then a "lack of coordination with the new 988 crisis call line."
One recommendation is to increase funding to the mental health facility WakeBrook and turn it into a crisis hub.
The report is being released as WakeMed is inching closer to building a new medical health hospital in Garner.
WakeMed Behavorial Health Department Chief Medical Officer Dr. Micah Krempasky said only about half of the people, who are admitted to the ER and need a psychiatric bed, actually get one.
"We are vastly underserved in the amount of in-patient psychiatric beds available," she said. "There are people that wait days, weeks, months or are actually never able to access that level of care. Instead, we stabilized them in the hospital. We connect them with out-patient services. We do the best that we can."
WakeMed said there was a 104 percent jump in the number of pediatric patients since 2020.
Hospital leaders are trying to tackle the problem and building a new medical health hospital in Garner. The site is located near the intersection of White Oak Road and Timber Drive.
The facility will eventually have a 150 psychiatric beds and help with a shortage.
"The need for behavioral health care is far bigger than what WakeMed can handle alone. We have to come together to come up with community solutions for the overwhelming need that is here and that has been under addressed for year," said Krempasky.
Ground is expected to be broken on the new mental health center in 2024 and supposed to open in 2026.