Walking around in the sunshine at the new wellness track by Rowan Medical Center is one of my favorite ways to get a few more minutes of exercise in AND it helps boost my mood and mental health! Did you know that May is National Mental Health Awareness Month and May 19th was National Child Mental Awareness Health Day? In Rowan County, we have a renewed and energized focus on Whole Health, which is an approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of mental, physical (exercise AND nutrition), and emotional health for all. We joke – you can’t remove the head from the body – so when we start talking about healthy eating and physical activity, we can’t ignore that mental health has a part to play.


What is Mental Health?

From our 2019 Rowan County Community Health Assessment, “Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and is an important part of our lives.” It affects how we function, what choices we make, and how we interact with others. Mental health and mental illness are related, yet distinct. A person could be experiencing a poor mental health day, where they feel sad or anxious, but not have a mental illness. Mental health can change over time, and at different points in a person’s life. Chronic mental illness, especially depression, can put someone at heightened risk for stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

Sometimes we don’t even realize how our mental health might be affecting us – like how anxiety or depression slowly begins to take away the joy or motivation in what we’re doing. Suddenly we are finding ourselves eating more and more junk food because it just seems tastier in the moment or it’s quicker and easier than cooking a healthy meal. We don’t talk about poor mental health often because of the stigma around things like depression and anxiety. We want a healthier Rowan County where citizens know where to receive the care they need.


What’s Our Goal in Rowan County?

We are dedicated to increasing the availability, accessibility, and coordination of mental health services here in Rowan County to improve the mental health and wellbeing of county residents and reduce suicide mortality.

I am so excited to share that there are MANY different programs going on to promote positive mental health in our community. I’m going to highlight just a few – but if you have any stories to share, please send your comments to me at health@yourrowan.com.


How Can Someone Find Resources?

The Rowan County Health Department, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, and Center for Prevention Services have put together a comprehensive guide on where to access resources. Check out the Rowan County Mental Health, Drug, & Alcohol Guide here.

Did you know that Rowan County has three mental health coalitions working to address concerns in the county? They include the Systems of Care Coalition and the Rowan Community Partners Coalition, both led by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, and Stop Inter-generational Trauma (SIT), led by Benchmarks NC. We love that they are here keeping the conversation around how to improve mental health at the forefront!


What’s Going on For Our Youth and Parents?

Communities in Schools Rowan is partnering with Novant Health Rowan Medical Center Social Responsibility to provide a “Why Try” training for teachers to help youth in Rowan-Salisbury Schools. The Why Try Program is a resilience education curriculum that provides simple, hands-on solutions for dropout prevention, violence prevention, truancy reduction, and increased academic success.

In addition, Prevent Child Abuse Rowan offers “Triple P – Positive Parenting Program” which is a FREE program that provides parents the skills to manage misbehavior and prevent problems from happening in the first place. Think of Triple P as a toolbox of ideas. You choose the tools you want to make your family life better. From toddler tantrums to teen disrespect, Triple P helps you work through things that affect families everywhere. Parenting is hard so let’s support parents to have healthy and happy families! To enroll, contact Margaret Stridick at 704-431-2015 or email her at THHparenting@gmail.com.

Plant Hope Pinwheel fundraiser for Child Abuse Prevention Month

The annual Plant Hope Pinwheel fundraiser for Child Abuse Prevention Month hosted by Prevent Child Abuse Rowan.



Get Involved!

The Whole Person Leadership Conference hosted by Rowan Community Partners is on June 26, 2019 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at West End Plaza. The conference will provide participants with a better understanding of Whole Person Health. This event will introduce participants to resources and key contacts from a wide variety of organizations that serve the people of Rowan County. During the afternoon session, participants will break into workgroups that will be addressing the three issues identified by the recent Community Health Assessment. This event hopes to serve as a catalyst for your organization and others to improve the lives of those that live, work, and play in Rowan County. Sign up here!


Local Resource Highlight

Finally, I’d like to highlight a really unique resource we have here in Rowan County – Nazareth Child & Family Connection.

Nazareth Child & Family Connection has been doing remarkable things in Rowan County for 113 years, but most don’t realize that the agency serves individuals with mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability needs in addition to its residential center for children.

Nazareth was founded in 1906 as a children’s home and more than 100 years later, its Rockwell campus remains a residence for children in need and is committed to providing a safe and nurturing environment for every child, individual, and family.

Several years ago, Nazareth’s staff and board of directors determined it could answer more needs in the Rowan County area and embarked on a mission of serving those with mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disability needs.

That move prompted another move: a name change. Nazareth Children’s Home became Nazareth Child & Family Connection to better reflect the array of services offered to the community.

Nazareth has an array of services which are provided in their continuum of care, Therapeutic Foster Care, Family Foster Care, Adoptions, Transitional Living Services for Young Adults, Level II Therapeutic Residential, Short Term Care, Individual and Group Outpatient Therapy, Psychiatric Services, Outpatient Substance Abuse Therapy and Parenting Groups in Rowan, Davidson, and Stanly Counties.

Nazareth’s staff consists of licensed social workers, psychologists, professional counselors, and physicians working together to provide the best evidence-based services in the area. Nazareth provides psychological testing, marriage and family counseling, couples counseling, therapy for mental health disorders, addiction treatment, substance abuse intensive outpatient programs, and medication assisted therapy utilizing Suboxone.​

Nazareth Child & Family Connection operates daily by appointment, though emergency walk-ins may be accommodated as needed. Hours of operation are flexible to assure that patients receive services at the times most often requested.

​It is Nazareth’s goal to provide the best therapeutic atmosphere possible to facilitate progress and growth in order to meet patient needs. Agency professionals offer comprehensive, evidenced based practices, and regularly participate in continuing education to maintain a high standard of treatment competency. Many of our clinicians are trained in trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy (TFCBT) as well as in Seven Challenges for teenage addiction treatment. Our therapists provide a wide range of outpatient services including individual, couples, family, and group therapies.


Nazareth Child & Family Connection’s Annual FunFest

On June 1, 2019 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m., Nazareth’s Children’s Home will be celebrating their 113th FunFest at 725 Crescent Road in Rockwell! Nazareth’s Annual Fun Fest is a day of fun for families, friends, and supporters of Nazareth Child & Family Connection. It is the agency’s biggest fundraiser of the year. FunFest features a car show, a craft and vendor show, a kid’s zone, and a silent auction featuring over 100 items from local businesses and vendors. Plus, enjoy live music and many different food options! Donations help provide care for children, adults, and families to continue to thrive in our community.

Fun Fest Children Singing

Fun Fest Car Show