Special to Iredell Free News
The Town of Mooresville is partnering with the United Way of Iredell County and other local organizations as part of a new statewide program focused improving mental health and preventing suicide in Mooresville, Iredell County, and across North Carolina.
Carolina Across 100 and the UNC Suicide Prevention Institute announced Wednesday that Mooresville is one of 15 communities in 24 counties that will participate in Our State, Our Wellbeing. It’s a 12-month initiative to identify and implement strategies to improve mental health and reduce the number of suicides. The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services reports that suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10- to 18-year-olds in the state, and the third leading cause of death for those ages 19 to 34. The UNC Suicide Prevention Institute reports that 1,448 N.C. residents lost their lives to suicide in 2021.
The United Way of Iredell County is partnering with the Town of Mooresville to run the year-long initiative. The town intends to also partner with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Mooresville Police Department, Iredell County Emergency Medical Services, Iredell County Public Health Department, Iredell Health System, Iredell-Statesville Schools, Mooresville Graded School District, and Partners Behavioral Health Management. Together, the town and its partners will develop a strategy to leverage existing assets and activities; increase availability, quality, and alignment of community resources for suicide prevention and mental and behavioral health; and address any barriers to access for residents.
“This program comes down to saving lives and helping our residents realize there is help available right now here in Mooresville,” said Mayor Miles Atkins. “One is too many in our community, county, and state. This new partnership will build on the work our Mooresville Suicide Prevention Task Force has been doing over the last two years. And it will allow our town to step boldly into helping our residents navigate life’s challenges.”
Atkins recently worked with the Mooresville Youth Council and Parks & Recreation Department to create butterfly benches at local parks as a symbol of encouragement and refuge for community members struggling with their mental and/or behavioral health. The first bench was dedicated during the Liberty Park Reimagined event on June 17.
If you or someone you know is struggling, the Town of Mooresville and its partners encourage you to reach out to friends, family, and to call the 988 the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.
For more information about Our State, Our Wellbeing, visit the program’s website HERE.