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United Way to fund mental health, substance abuse clinic’s startup costs

SALISBURY — After months of review, the Rowan County United Way on Friday announced it would designate $175,000 in funding from last year’s annual campaign toward the launch of a mental health and substance abuse treatment center.

One Love Services, Inc., which has set up an office in suites 221 and 222 at 121 W. Council Street, will receive a two-year allocation of funding. The first year of funding will go toward startup capital and services not currently offered in Rowan County. Funding will decrease by 10% the next year because United Way says it doesn’t want the program to rely on its funding to exist.

“United Way welcomes this successful and effective model to Rowan County under their mental health funding priority,” a news release said.

Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Way said in its announcement, mental health and substance abuse treatment services are more vital than ever.

The company, started in 1999, has existing facilities in Charlotte, Morganton and Troy. On its website, the company cites accreditations from CARF International, a nonprofit that provides accreditation at the request of health and human service providers, and COLA Inc., which focuses on clinical laboratories. In Salisbury, the company plans to offer walk-in assessments; around-the-clock outpatient services that include toxicology, psychiatric evaluation, therapy for ages 2 until death; medication management, among other things; and a 24-hour call line for Rowan County.

United Way Board President Seth Waller said the organization has found a highly effective company that “will fill a major deficit for Rowan County all while directly impacting the mental health funding priority.”

United Way Vice President of Community Impact Shon Barnes, Salisbury’s deputy police chief, said mental health and substance abuse continue to be a significant issue for communities. They were the top two needs in the 2018 assessment that set priorities for the Rowan County United Way’s 2019 campaign.

“We have learned from past mistakes that community problems are best solved together. I am very proud to be a part of our Rowan County United Way,” Barnes said. “The United Way has taken the lead to fund and support community organizations seeking to have an impact on mental health and substance abuse.”

Executive Director Jenny Lee said One Love Services will take its model from other areas and implement it in Salisbury, which was part of the reason why the application was attractive.

“They have a working model in three different areas. So we didn’t come up with One Love Services,” she said.” They know best practices and are gold star accredited.”

She noted that the United Way funding the startup of a mental health and substance abuse agency was a first-of-its-kind decision.

“They applied and were vetted,” she said. “We had to really make sure to do our due diligence, and we’re going to heavily monitor them.”

The funding announcement described One Love Services treatment model, which treats patients through the coordination of a primary care physician, a behavioral health physician and a psychiatrist. It provides testing to ensure patients are prescribed appropriate medications. The company has its own pharmacy and laboratory for prescriptions and toxicology in Charlotte.

One Love Services also has a nonprofit sector that collaborates with surrounding agencies to provide basic needs such as food, housing, case management and transportation to patients at no additional cost. It accepts Medicare and Medicaid in addition to private insurance. And its name is intended to be an acronym that stands for “one life offers valuable experiences.”

The Rowan County United Way first announced its campaign funding recipients in December — a total of $1.2 million for 20 programs. While it required additional vetting at the time and was not named, money was earmarked for One Love Services.

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