The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Carolina Across 100 initiative announced Wednesday the selection of 15 local teams in North Carolina that will work to address mental health challenges and reduce suicides.
Under the new program Our State, Our Wellbeing, Carolina Across 100 will partner with the UNC Suicide Prevention Institute to provide selected teams with resources and strategies to build robust local systems that improve mental and behavioral health and prevent suicides.
Carolina launched Our State, Our Wellbeing in June in response to alarming increases in rates of suicide and mental health crises in recent years. From 2004 to 2020, the number of suicides per 100,000 residents in North Carolina grew by more than 10%. More recently, the disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated risk factors related to mental and behavioral health.
“Both the total number and the rate of suicides have increased in North Carolina over time,” said Patrick Sullivan, Director of the UNC Suicide Prevention Institute. “By bringing experienced local partners together to share ideas and identify next steps, we will be better positioned to design effective strategies that are localized and sustainable.”
The 15 selected teams are composed of health providers, local government agencies, educational institutions, faith-based groups, and civic and nonprofit organizations from 24 counties across the state. Teams were selected through a competitive application process led by a panel with representatives from Carolina Across 100, UNC Suicide Prevention Institute, UNC Rural, and other experts in mental health and suicide prevention.
The participating teams represent urban, suburban, and rural areas covering every region of North Carolina. Seventeen of the 24 counties have not previously participated in a Carolina Across 100 program, moving the initiative closer to its goal of implementing programs in all 100 counties. Read the full list and view the map.