To actively move forward with 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 for determining early intervention efforts, assessing available mental health resources, and evaluating the criminal justice system and County jail for improvements in relation to their clients who suffer from mental illness.
The Mental Health Advisory Board is inclusive, with 26 positions for those who need, provide, respond to and use mental health services in Cabarrus. This includes mayors, law enforcement, schools, public health, human services, EMS, mental health providers, judges, the District Attorney’s office, hospital, etc.
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 and improve crisis response - the most notable concerns and initial focus of the Mental Health Advisory Board.
The Mental Health Advisory Board is not in name only - it will provide recommendations with which the County can move forward. We will move forward by directing future decisions and funds to support this initiative, and through open and honest conversations that give us the courage to admit our shortfalls as a community 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 that appropriately identify, evaluate and assess individuals with mental illness and through an informed referral process, connect those individuals to appropriate services.
- Develop steps to improve follow up of continuity of care, address gaps in care, and 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 by providing 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 and access to providers
- Develop message platform and 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
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