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A new mental health respite is open in Charlotte. Leaders say it's not only more cost-effective, but a growing option

The Retreat @The Plaza serves as an alternative to jail or hospitalization so people can improve their mental wellness in a less costly and more effective way

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A home in Charlotte's Plaza Midwood neighborhood is now home to anyone who may be dealing with a mental health crisis as part of the grand opening of the Retreat @ The Plaza-- the city's first peer-run respite.

There are more than 40 of these respites throughout the country in 14 different states that serve to heal, mentor and support those struggling with mental health issues. This new option provided by the Promise Resource Network (PRN) offers an alternative to the traditional and sometimes traumatic police interaction that likely leads to involuntary hospitalizations.

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"This is exactly what I would have wanted and needed but never had access to and now we get to do this for the community," said Cherene Caraco, CEO of the PRN.

Caraco once battled mental struggles herself, much like others on the PRN team, and now she says the respite is a chance to extend their healing to others. 

“It supports people to heal and to reclaim their life beyond having a mental health crisis," Caraco said.

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The house includes three bedrooms, multiple bathrooms, kitchens, a living room, and workspaces where guests can stay up to 10 days at absolutely no charge to them. In fact, studies show it costs less - about $111 a day per person - to run a respite compared to in-patient treatment at a hospital costing at least $2,100 a day per person.

“It’s going to offer people the opportunity to make their own life choices based off of their own lived experiences to see what works for them," peer support staff member Toya Houston said.

PRN says it hopes to grow and create more respites throughout the community.

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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