ReCONNECT to Move Forward: Communities

As part of the ReCONNECT to Move Forward meeting series, the Institute for Emerging Issues chose six communities to tell their story regarding how they are actively working to address mental health challenges and near-term needs while building support systems to thrive in a post-pandemic world.


El Futuro, Inc. 

Communities Involved: Durham, Chatham, Statewide

North Carolina’s 1-million strong Latino community is one of the state’s strongest assets, yet disproportionate levels of traumatic experiences related to poverty and migration, combined with significant barriers to accessing quality mental health treatment, mean that it is also one of our most vulnerable. The disparities in health and economic outcomes presented by the COVID-19 pandemic only increase those vulnerabilities. In partnership with La Mesita Mental Health Provider Network (over 800 members around the state) and other community partners, El Futuro is both improving the standards of culturally-responsive treatment available to Latino families in NC, and is implementing creative and therapeutic placemaking to encourage healthy social connectivity and exposure to the natural environment in support of improved Latino mental health.

Integrating Care for Marginalized and Underserved Communities

Communities Involved: Alamance, Cumberland, Durham, Pasquotank, Mecklenburg, Person, Vance, Wake, Statewide

United Providers of Health (UPOH), an Independent Providers Association (IPA) is a network of small Mental Health, Intellectual Developmental Disability, Substance Abuse provider agencies and Primary Care Physicians whose purpose is to collaborate and integrate health care through a continuum of services and provide alternative reimbursement (value-based) payment models for Physical and Behavioral Health. They exist as an IPA to demonstrate and show how important it is to have and build strategic partnerships, relationships, and collaborations and are focused on addressing social determinants of health in the delivery of care. 

McDowell County Mental Health Focused Project Post COVID-19 (Children, Youth and Family Units)

Communities Involved: McDowell

This project will leverage organizational, agency, systems, and individual connectional relationships built over the past four years across McDowell County, which have empowered grass-roots efforts toward healthy living. The Project is preparing for post-COVID trauma experienced by children, youth, and family units. Trauma will be an outcome from enforced isolation, fear of the unknown, depression, anxiety, food insecurity, and unemployment. Basically, trauma is the result of an interruption to “perceptions of normal.’ The McDowell Project will identify needs, available resources, and gaps, then organize solutions to close the gaps. 

Pender County Resiliency Task Force

Communities Involved: Pender

The Pender County Resiliency Task Force is a new initiative of diverse organizations that will serve as an outlet for all aspects of the county to learn and implement what it means to be trauma-informed. With these principles and ideas, they hope to mold a community that is more compassionate and connected, as well as help the community understand that mental health is connected to our overall well-being.

The REACH Center

Communities Involved: Nash

The REACH Center is working to design a Community Mental Health and Wellness Initiative to help address the growing demands of individuals who call the Center in need of mental health services as a result of the pandemic. The goal of this initiative is the creation of a robust model that is holistic, replicable, and innovative. A pivotal part of this project is the introduction of therapeutic models such as the creative arts, farming, and equine. The Initiative includes a network of individuals and organizations across various sectors.


Communities Involved: Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Watauga, and Wilkes

NAMI High Country is partnering with Appalachian Regional Libraries to broaden the commitment to creating ‘welcoming communities’ supporting mental health recovery. Due to COVID-19, the partnership had to pivot from in-person gatherings to virtual author interviews, direct mailings of thematic books, and other coved-19 sensitive opportunities. The coalition is looking for additional ways to help connect our mountain villages in Ashe Co to needed resources. We are particularly interested in founding a local Recovery Resource Center/Hub, a place where seekers can learn and network about growth opportunities both near and far.