To enhance the Stepping Up Initiative, Cabarrus County created a Mental Health Advisory Board. Approved by resolution in October 2016, this task force serves as a resource to:
- determine early intervention efforts
- assess available mental health resources
- evaluate the criminal justice system and County jail
- improve how law enforcement interacts with clients suffering from mental illness
The Mental Health Advisory Board has 26 positions. The members are those who need, provide, respond to and use mental health services in Cabarrus. This includes:
- mayors, law enforcement, judges and the District Attorney’s office
- public health, mental health providers and the hospital
- EMS, human services and schools
Initial discussions uncovered a wide spectrum of crosscutting issues and needs in our community. The County is leading this effort to:
- raise public awareness
- improve access to services and care
- improve crisis response (most notable concerns and initial focus)
The Mental Health Advisory Board will provide recommendations to the County. We will improve by directing future decisions and funds to support this initiative. We will also have open and honest conversations. These discussions will help us admit our shortfalls as a community. Only then will we have the courage and the wisdom to make a change.
1. Access to Resources/Care
Goal: To identifying available, accessible and acceptable mental health resources in Cabarrus County.
- Identify all resources
- Investigate where resources and information are available or could be made available
- Create a directory based on a three-tier system for services ranging from emergency to non-emergency
- Develop a network or Center Point to share information
2. Crisis Response/Destinations
Goal: To identify gaps in care. Look at care that identifies, evaluates and assesses individuals with mental illness. Through an informed referral process, connect those individuals to appropriate services.
- Develop steps to improve continuity and address gaps in care. Bridge reliable services.
- Offer ideas to improve communication between agencies and across systems
- Provide ideas that remove barriers to care
- Investigate costs involved
3. Public Awareness
Goal: To reduce the stigma of mental health. To provide education and outreach that promotes a spectrum of services and advocacy.
- Research existing materials and data
- Develop public service announcements/local mental health campaigns that provide:
- community stigma education
- available resources
- access to providers
- Develop a message platform. Assess agency needs, sizing and content for kids and adults
- Utilize Mental Health America Coffee and Conversation and Linking with Legislators, #b4stage4
- Engaging the faith community