News & Media

Be Well Iredell, Not A Moment Too Soon!

United Way of Iredell County helped usher in the launch of Be Well Iredell, a new county-wide initiative focusing on mental health, on May 10 at Iredell-Statesville Schools’ Career Academy and Technical School in Troutman.

Be Well Iredell took root out of the pain of losing an Iredell County high school student three years ago. Then Mayor of Mooresville, Miles Atkins of Iredell Health System worked with Susan Tolle of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to convene a consortium of organizations including Iredell-Statesville Schools, Mooresville Graded School District, Iredell Health System, Partners Behavioral Health, and the Iredell County Department of Health to clearly define the problem of living in a community where not every resident thrives with hope and resilience and emotional, mental, and physical well-being are not prioritized enough. To ensure the effectiveness of the initiative, the group recognized the need to first gather data to ensure outreach efforts were targeting the correct audience.

Through their careful consideration of truly startling statistics, the group established the mission statement:

“To foster a community where every resident thrives with hope and resilience, and where we stand united in our commitment to ensuring the emotional well-being, mental and physical well-being of residents. Through collaboration, education, and unwavering support, we aspire to empower our residents with the protective tools they need to overcome challenges, and to foster a safe nurturing environment where no person feels alone or forgotten.”

To address the issues on a state-level, Carolina Across 100 and the UNC Suicide Prevention Institute launched Our State, Our Wellbeing, a 12-month initiative to identify and implement strategies to improve mental health and reduce the number of suicides in North Carolina. When Be Well Iredell was accepted into one of the 15 teams from 24 counties and every part of the state that make up Our State, Our Wellbeing, United Way of Iredell County’s Senior Director, Community Investment, Sara Helmick, and Genevieve Glaser were named project managers.

The launch event included an overview of North Carolina’s Behavioral Health System Crisis from Kelly Crosbie the Director of  NC Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Use Services followed by a review of the local impact presented by Jerry Campbell, Partners Behavioral Health. Sara Helmick and Genevieve Glaser walked their audience through the evolution of the Be Well Iredell as well as the immediate goals.  As Iredell-Statesville School’s, Marlene Scott, stepped to the podium to discuss the next steps tears filled her eyes. She had just learned that another Iredell County teenager had become the victim of suicide.

Be Well Iredell is not a moment too soon!