Mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and it 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 different.

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, and adverse childhood experiences (ACES), can put someone at heightened risk for stroke, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

In the Community Opinion Survey, residents reported an average of 2.9 days per month when their mental health was “not good.” Thirteen percent of residents reported more than 20 days of poor mental health.

Twenty-two percent of residents surveyed report being diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

The 2016 suicide rate in Rowan County is 18.2 per 100,000 (Log Into North Carolina Database, 2016). The Healthy NC 2020 target is 8.3.

Opportunities for the county to expand beyond these providers might include additional facilities and programs, specifically those that can help the recently incarcerated population and combat mental health stigma. Moreover, we want to promote Mental Health First Aid and programs that provide education and awareness around mental health concerns, like QPR.

Long term goals for our community include working with partners to reduce the rate of mental health-related visits to the Emergency Department, reduce the suicide rate, and to decrease the average number of poor mental health days among adults in the last 30 days.