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New Youth & Family Mental Health Awareness Campaign Launched
Throughout the next several weeks, Mecklenburg residents will be confronted with some tough questions from teens, including “Can you see me?” and, “Can you hear me?”
Mecklenburg County’s Area Mental Health Authority and MeckCARES is launching a community campaign this December to help raise awareness among youths and families about the need to ask questions, intervene, and encourage youths to reach out for help. It challenges people to look teens square in the eyes, and “Ask me how I am.”
The intent of this campaign is to engage people in discussions about mental health issues to help reduce the stigma that surrounds mental illness. We also believe it will allow young people to recognize they are not alone and that there is hope and help available.
The campaign concepts were developed by meeting over the past six months with local youth and families, mental health professionals, and residents to refine the messages and visuals to speak directly to youths and their families. Posters, tent cards, and digital advertisements have been placed in local malls, movie theaters, online, and in weekly publications.
So far, the campaign is working. More youth and families are reaching out for help by visiting the Area Mental Health web site and by contacting MeckLINK (704) 336-6404, the Area Mental Health Authority’s call center. The campaign has also been featured by the Charlotte Business Journal as a cutting-edge, collaborative effort to tackle tough social issues.
Note: MeckCARES is the system of care partnership among families, local child-serving agencies, and the community. Its purpose is to provide resources and support to improve outcomes for youths ages 10-21 who have a severe emotional problem.
Transportation Funding and the Role of Counties
The General Assembly passed legislation last session (S1513) giving counties the authority to finance road construction and maintenance, an activity previously prohibited by the state since 1931. This change in law has prompted much speculation among county officials statewide about how this authority would be applied and whether this act is a precursor to mandating county involvement in road construction and maintenance.
NCACC hosted a workshop last week to educate county officials about the new authority, the complicated existing system of transportation funding, and state efforts to plan for the growing transportation needs of North Carolina. NCDOT explained that S1513 represents only voluntary participation by counties and was designed to allow counties to expedite or enhance a road project. There is no additional revenue source associated with this authority. Also, the bill does not outline how such projects would be administered. Over the next several months, NCDOT will be working with counties to develop guidelines, using lessons learned by years of working with cities on transportation projects. NCDOT will identify issues to bring to the General Assembly in the short session to seek clarifying legislation.
In addition to this change in county authority, the General Assembly has convened a select committee to study the transportation infrastructure needs of the state. The 21st Century Transportation Committee comprises 24 members from all levels of government and the private sector. Charlotte-Mecklenburg area representatives include Rep. Becky Carney and Charles Bowman, President of Bank of America. The committee has met three times in Raleigh and plans to meet in locations across the state, including a January meeting in Charlotte. Members expect to have a preliminary report completed by May, followed by a more comprehensive list of recommendations for the 2009 long session.
Over the next few weeks, my executive team and other County staff will develop a more detailed briefing for the Board on this matter. For additional information, contact Deborah Long Goldberg at 704-336-2611 or email.
M-I Connection Assumes Operation of North Mecklenburg Cable System
On December 19, M-I Connection (MIC) will officially assume the operation of the North Mecklenburg cable system that was formerly operated by Adelphia/Time Warner. MIC will be providing cable television services in the areas of Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville, and unincorporated Mecklenburg County under the terms of agreements approved by respective elected boards earlier this year.
The City-County cable administration office will oversee this local franchise on behalf of the County in the same manner as it would any transferred franchise, including monitoring the operation of MIC as it does other existing cable franchise operators.

- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager



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