By Guy Lucas

Published: Sept. 3, 2022

Sep. 3—HIGH POINT — Born just weeks apart, cousins Crystal Montague and Kris Roberson grew up in High Point together like best friends — or as Roberson put it, “played together, done all the cousin stuff together, got in trouble together.”

And now they are health care entrepreneurs together.

This past spring they opened Mindful Innovations in the Mendenall office park in north High Point, combining Montague’s work as a family and psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with Roberson’s as a family nurse practitioner. It is the first woman-owned and Black-owned practice in High Point that offers both mental health and primary care services under the same roof.

Montague said the idea for the practice evolved out of discussions during the early part of the COVID-19 pandemic about offering mobile services. As pandemic restrictions eased, they talked more about opening an office in High Point, where they saw in particular a gap in mental health services.

Montague said that over the coming year they hope to expand services to Randolph County, where currently there are not any similar services.

“We have a couple of clinics in Randolph already asking us to provide service,” she said.

Though Mindful Innovations opened in late March, it held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Thursday with city officials and representatives of Business High Point-Chamber of Commerce.

Montague hopes in five years Mindful Innovations will have grown enough to move to a larger space.

Roberson said she was attracted to the idea of being able to work to improve the overall health of underserved populations.

“For me, it’s about bringing about positive change,” she said, including making sure patients’ mental health and physical health needs are not treated in isolation. “We’re so used to operating in silos.”

But Roberson, who also teaches graduate-level nursing classes at Winston-Salem State University, said the engine that drove the two to opening their own practice was Montague.

“This is more or less Crystal’s idea,” she said. “This is Big Cousin taking the lead.”

Montague said that after working eight years in a busy psychiatric practice in Greensboro, she felt a need to move into something that allowed her to spend more time with each patient — and more time for herself.

“I (also) want to be able to establish a legacy in the community” and become a positive role model for others growing up in High Point, she said.