December 7, 2017

Community Spotlight – Helpmate Provides Services to Victims of Intimate Partner Violence

By Samantha Kappalman

More than 30 percent of Americans are acquainted with a woman who has suffered violence from her male partner. In fact, one of every three women and one of every four men are the victims of intimate-partner violence.

The Buncombe County Family Justice Center was created so victims of domestic violence can access coordinated support from law enforcement, social services and other nonprofit service providers, including healthcare providers. It is a collaborative effort of many community partners including Mission Health.

Mission Health continues to support the work of organizations and agencies in western North Carolina that are improving access, eliminating disparities and providing services to vulnerable members of the community. This critical work improves prevention, reduces hospital stays and respects the dignity of residents who need the most support.

“For many years, we have been working with community partners to determine how we can best help victims of intimate-partner violence,” said Sonya Greck, senior vice president of community investment, behavioral health and safety net services for Mission Health. “Over time we were able to understand how wrap around services, where one person can walk in and get the support, care, treatment and services he or she needs, is integral in helping someone to live a healthier life in a healthier environment. We are delighted to be partnering with Helpmate to make a difference in our community.”

Helpmate, housed in the Family Justice Center, provides services to victims of intimate partner violence in Buncombe County, including free emergency shelter, counseling and support. Through a 2017 grant from Mission Health, Helpmate is educating youth in the community as well as medical providers, law enforcement and other first responders about healthy relationships, what to look for and the questions to ask to help determine if someone is a victim of intimate-partner violence as well as providing information about lifesaving services available in the community.

“Helpmate’s mission is to eliminate abuse and fear by providing safety, shelter and support for people who have been victims of intimate-partner violence,” said April Burgess-Johnson, executive director, Helpmate. “With Mission’s help, we are working to change the community and prevent violence before it happens.”

Helpmate takes more than 3,500 crisis calls per year and serves more than 2,600 survivors per year.

Mission Health’s Community Investment Program recently announced more than $890,000 in funding to a diverse group of 17 western North Carolina agencies, in a joint effort to improve the health of those served by Mission Health across the region. The 2018 focus areas for the grants are Behavioral Health and Substance Abuse, Chronic Disease, Social Determinants of Health (focusing on food security and homelessness) and Interpersonal Violence.
Read more stories like this in Mission Health’s 2917 Annual Report at

Sources: National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. 2010 Summary Report. CDC;