My Turn, Jackie Harris: Give to United Way to support mental health

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 7, 2021

By Jackie Harris

We have been through an extraordinary time over the last several months. Isolation, financial issues, loss of jobs and other problems have tested the mental health of many in our community.

We lost loved ones to suicide and overdoses because they could not handle the day-to-day situations that impacted their mental health. Even sports figures began to talk about the stress that comes with expectations to perform and win. Mental health matters

Students suffered through the pain of not seeing their friends or having interaction with other children. Some had a hard time with online classes and felt like they let their parents and teachers down. What goes on in the head of a 7- or 8-year-old that never sees their peers, never eats lunch with their classmates or play together? The impact has been overwhelming for parents and their families. Mental health matters.

Our veterans returning from duty had to come home and isolate after serving our country. And other veterans that fought for our freedom were alone and very fragile. Many lost their lives to suicide because they could not cope. Mental health matters.

The Rowan County United Way had no idea in 2019 we would be at the mercy of a pandemic. Because of forward-thinking and a countywide comprehensive needs assessment, mental health and substance use rose to the forefront of funding. One Love Community Programs opened in February of 2020 in a small office on West Council Street to provide mental health services to Rowan County citizens because our United Way recognized the need. Without their funding, we could never have offered our services. Mental health matters

Starting out with a couple of therapists, we now have seven. We serve children and adults and we provide transportation. We take Medicaid and private insurance but a large number of our clients cannot pay. They are never billed or charged for their assessments, therapy sessions or medications thanks to your local United Way. 

None of us know what our future holds. No one is immune from suicide, substance use or mental issues. Your families, neighbors and community are all at risk. Finally, we have come out of the darkness and into the light by talking about mental health instead of denying it, which only exacerbates the problem. Mental health matters

Please give to the Rowan County United Way campaign, which is currently underway. Be a part of the solution to our community’s problems and help us continue to assist those individuals and families who need our help. You may call 704-633-1802 for information on how to give. 

One Love Community Programs is located at 723 W. Innes Street in Salisbury. Our number is 980-330-7000. Please call us if you need our help. Because mental health matters.

Jackie Harris handles development and public relations for One Love Community Programs. She retired in 2020 after almost 30 years working for the Rowan County United Way.