Community Voices

Celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month

Since 1949, May has been recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month. Just as a good diet and exercise are needed daily to support physical health, a consistent routine can help to support mental health and wellness. For some people, this routine includes therapy and meditation. For others, it involves spending quality time with friends and family.

Everyone’s path towards mental health and wellness will look different. If you are looking for a place to start or new tools to add to your toolkit, check out the resources listed below!

resources for families

  • ParentVOICE – Mental Health American of Central Carolinas
    • Support for families navigating the education, child welfare, mental health, and juvenile justice systems.
    • Information on support groups for parents/caregivers and youth also included.
  • Family-to-Family – NAMI Charlotte
    • Free, 8-session educational program for family, significant others, and friends of people with mental health conditions. Click the link to register!

resources for community advocates

  • Virtual Listening Circles – ReCAST Mecklenburg and Resources for Resilience™
    • Connect with others in the community and learn concrete stress-reducing tools.
    • Upcoming sessions on May 17th and May 26th.
  • Resilience Tools Today Workshop – ReCAST Mecklenburg and Resources for Resilience™
    • Resilience tools and resources to help address trauma, toxic stress, and anxiety that leads to dysregulation in everyday life.
    • Upcoming session on May 20th – Spanish translation available.

Other Resources In Charlotte and Beyond

Supporting Mental Health and Wellness During Black History Month

Happy Black History Month! This month (and every month of the year) is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the history, impact, and future of Black people and culture.  

During this Black History Month, many organizations are taking the opportunity to highlight the importance of mental health and wellness within the Black community. The websites listed below are rich with information regarding the history of Black mental health and numerous resources to find support.


“In celebration of Black History Month, the National Museum of African American History & Culture will examine the legacy of not only Black scholars and medical practitioners in Western medicine, but also other ways of knowing (e.g., birth workers, doulas, midwives, naturopaths, herbalists, etc.) throughout the African Diaspora. The 2022 theme considers activities, rituals and initiatives that Black communities have done to be well.” Learn More

“Learning about the history of systemic racism during Black History Month* – and all year – in the mental health system and movement and how it harms Black communities in the US and around the world is key for creating a mentally healthier world.” Learn More

“Food Lion and the Harvey B. Gantt Center invite you to join us for special programming ranging from beginner dance classes every Saturday  – Ballet! West African! Liturgical!  – to film screenings to lectures to hands-on art workshops. All in celebration of Black History Month at the Gantt Center.” Learn More

“What happens at the intersection of mental health and one’s experience as a member of the Black community? While the experience of being Black in America varies tremendously, there are shared cultural factors that play a role in helping define mental health and supporting well-being, resiliency and healing.” Learn More

Congratulations to 2021 Charlottean of the Year Greg Jackson

Charlottean of the Year is awarded to individuals and organizations that are making meaningful changes in the community. ReCAST extends a huge congratulations to Greg Jackson, founder of the community organization Heal Charlotte and one of this year’s recipients!

Heal Charlotte and ReCAST have partnered together on numerous Stop the Violence CLT events aimed at bringing awareness to issues of violence, empowering youth, and engaging community residents in solutions for change. Past events have included:

Stop the Violence Day 2021 Kickoff
Stop the Violence Showcase
– Stop the Violence 3×3 Basketball Tournament (video coming soon)

Read more about Greg’s journey in Charlotte Magazine. Additional information about Heal Charlotte and the #StopTheViolenceCLT campaign can be found on their website and Instagram page.

Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15th – October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month! Whether you plan to attend a few events or learn more about various Hispanic cultures and histories, there are a number of ways to celebrate. Below are a few suggestions to get you started:

Events

– All Month: Virtual Events hosted by The Library of Congress

– October 2nd: Puerto Rican Festival of the Carolinas

– October 9th: Hola Charlotte Festival 2021

– October 10th: Hispanic Learning Center’s International Festival

– October 16th: Latin Night at Camp North End

Local Resources

– Read this article from Alyssa Lopez to learn more about how to support the Hispanic businesses and organizations in the Queen City

– Check out multiple curated book lists from the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library here and here

– Engage youth in various activities to celebrate throughout the month

New Opportunity – Apply Today!

Looking to Improve Service quality and culture in your workplace?

Consider joining “Doing the Work: A Community Approach to Systems Change”!

Walk away with skills to:

✔ Implement trauma-informed approaches throughout your organization and Mecklenburg County

✔ Adopt trauma-informed, resilience-oriented best practices for your clients 

✔ Build resilience in your workforce to prevent secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue 

✔ Make your community a safe environment where clients can heal and staff can thrive  

Commitment:

✔ Only time! Five 90 min sessions to advance trauma informed care in your organization starting September 2021

No cost to join!

Ready to apply? More information and links to the application can be found HERE!

Holistic Wellness in Mecklenburg County

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Public health is concerned with the holistic wellbeing of all people, and mental health plays a huge role in that. Efforts include (but are not limited to) increasing access to services, decreasing stigma, and preventing stress and trauma in the community.

Check out some mental health-related events taking place this month:

Improving Mental Health Together Workshop (Topic: Humanizing Bipolar Disorder)
– Mental Health America of Central Carolinas
– 5/13: Sign Up Here

Mental Health Matters Talk Show – Real Life Tips for Managing Stress
– Mental Health America of Central Carolinas
– 5/18: Sign Up Here

Trauma 101: ACEs is Destiny
– ReCAST Mecklenburg and National Council for Mental Wellbeing
– 5/19: Sign Up Here

Pediatric Mental Health in the Wake of a Pandemic: Data, Strategies and Stories
– Emory University/Central Office
– 5/19: Sign Up Here

ACEs & Addictive Disease: The BIG Picture!
– Area L AHEC
– 5/20: Sign Up Here

QPR Suicide Prevention Training
– Mental Health America of Central Carolinas
– 5/20 and 5/26: Sign Up Here

ReCAST Toolbox: Resilience Tools Today Workshop
– ReCAST Mecklenburg and Resources for Resilience™
– 5/22: Sign Up Here

Connecting Cross-Sectors to Advance Health Equity Where it Matters
– Emory University/Central Office
– 5/24: Sign Up Here

Coffee and Conversation – “La Salud Mental: Es Tiempo de Hablar” (Spanish language event)
– Mental Health America of Central Carolinas
– 5/27: Sign Up Here

If there is a mental health-related event that you would like to add, please send an email to recastmecklenburg@mecknc.gov.

Ways to Support Women and Girls

Happy Women’s History Month! Click here to learn more about trailblazing women that have impacted Charlotte.

In addition to brushing up on some history, there are numerous ways to support community-based organizations focused on women and girls. Throughout the rest of March and afterward, consider the following ways that you can show support:

– Donate (check to see if organizations accept monetary and/or material donations)

– Volunteer (please check COVID-19 protocols and virtual volunteering opportunities)

– Like, comment, and subscribe to social media accounts

– Visit sharecharlotte.org to learn more about the best ways to get involved based on each organization’s needs

There are tons of Charlotte-based organizations focused on women and girls – check out a few below!

Circle de Luz

Circle de Luz does its work by selecting a small cohort group of Latinas in seventh grade whom we then follow until high school graduation. During the six years of the program, we offer our members extensive mentoring and holistic programming that supports their personal growth, academic readiness, and community engagement. In addition, we guarantee each girl a minimum of a $5,000 scholarship when she graduates from high school and pursues further education.

EmpowHERment

EmpowHERment’s mission is to empower a continuous network of girls and women to be leaders in their community through mentorship, talent development and advocacy. Our approach to empowering ladies who lead is outcomes-based, collaborative, and inclusive.

Girls Rock Charlotte

Girls Rock Charlotte is a 501c3 non-profit that is a 100% volunteer-run, community organization whose mission is to empower girls and gender diverse youth and adults through music and film education. In addition to inspiring programs, we provide opportunities for our volunteers to gain valuable leadership, teaching, facilitation and production experience. Our goal is to feature diverse leaders, musicians and professionals who serve as mentors and role-models for our campers and volunteers.

Healing Vine Harbor

The mission of Healing Vine Harbor is to reduce the number of single women living in shelters or unsafe situations, providing a pathway out of poverty to ensure self-sufficiency. We transform lives one woman at a time through independent living skills such as financial literacy, educational preparation, employability readiness, mentoring and much more.

My Sister’s House

My Sister’s House is a transitional living program for single, homeless women that equips residents with tools and resources to establish and sustain self sufficiency and end homelessness.

Teal Diva

Teal Diva celebrates victories, honors memories, empowers women, educates the community and funds diagnostic research for ovarian and gynecologic cancers. Our purpose is to encourage women to celebrate life. We advocate for young women and focus on life after cancer for survivors of any age.

YWCA Central Carolinas

YWCA Central Carolinas is on a mission to eliminate racism, empower women and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all people. YWCA Central Carolinas supports more than 250 youth from fragile communities, as well as women and families facing homelessness and educates, engages and connects community members through our racial justice and advocacy work. In addition, YWCA provides a co-ed fitness center empowering fitness members in their wellness journey.

Information gathered from sharecharlotte.org.

Black Leaders Who Have Shaped Public Health

Throughout February, many have taken the time to celebrate Black leaders both throughout history and in the present day. Considering the many efforts to promote resilience, self-care, and wellness via public health approaches, join ReCAST in recognizing several Black public health pioneers whose legacies still impact the work surrounding health equity, youth violence prevention, and racial equity.

Thereasea Clark Elder

In 1962, Thereasea Clark Elder became the first Black nurse to join the Mecklenburg County Health Department. Throughout her career and afterwards, Ms. Elder fiercely advocated for the health and wellbeing of Black communities. Through a holistic approach, Ms. Elder championed health equity, civil rights, and community development.1 In honor of her work and legacy, Village HeartBEAT, a program within the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department, established the Thereasea Elder Community Health Leadership Academy to train and support Community Health Ambassadors in local faith communities.2

Deborah Prothrow-Stith

After earning her medical degree from Harvard University Medical School in 1979, Dr. Prothrow-Stith witnessed how high rates of gun violence had a detrimental impact on youth in Boston.3 Since then, Dr. Prothrow-Stith dedicated much of her work to youth violence prevention and the notion that “violence should be seen as a public health problem and a social ‘disease’ rather than a criminal justice problem.”4 Dr. Prothrow-Stith’s influence can still be seen today: in 2020, the Mecklenburg County Public Health Department declared violence as a public health crisis and continues to use public health approaches to address it.

Sherman A. James

Combining his backgrounds in psychology and epidemiology, Dr. James pioneered research related to his “John Henryism” hypothesis; the notion that premature deaths of African Americans is connected to prolonged exposure to stress from discrimination and racism. His theory and continued research efforts have been foundational to understanding the social determinants of health and the impact of social environments on Black health outcomes.5,6

Sources:
1. https://qcitymetro.com/2021/01/06/remembering-thereasea-elder-mecklenburg-countys-first-black-public-health-nurse/
2. https://www.villagehb.org/copy-of-about-us
3. https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/prothrow-stith-deborah-1954/
4. https://publichealth.nyu.edu/events-news/news/2020/02/27/17-african-american-public-health-heroes-you-need-know
5.https://depts.washington.edu/hservmph/articles/2047#:~:text=Sherman%20A.&text=African%20American%20epidemiologist%20and%20health,stresses%20of%20discrimination%20and%20racism
6. https://publichealth.nyu.edu/events-news/news/2020/02/27/17-african-american-public-health-heroes-you-need-know