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Sandhills Center Partnerships Earn Statewide Public Awareness and Advocacy Award

Sandhills Center Partnerships Earn Statewide Public Awareness and Advocacy Award

Publication Date: December 21, 2016

Sandhills Center recently was recognized with a Program of Excellence Award for Public Awareness and Advocacy during an annual conference held in Pinehurst.

Sandhills Center is the local management entity-managed care organization (LME-MCO) for mental health, intellectual/developmental disabilities and substance use services in Anson, Guilford, Harnett, Hoke, Lee, Moore, Montgomery, Randolph and Richmond counties in central North Carolina.

The award was presented Dec. 8 by the conference host, the North Carolina Council of Community Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Programs (NC Council). In presenting the honor, the NC Council noted that Sandhills Center encourages collaborative relationships with community agencies, advocacy groups and individuals throughout its nine-county region. Sandhills Center is instrumental in the planning process for public awareness and advocacy initiatives.

The relationship between the National Alliance on Mental Illness Moore County (NAMI-MC) and Sandhills Center produced “The Sandhills Partnerships,” a community effort that derived from the partner organizations that support Crisis Intervention Team training (CIT) in Moore County, notably the Moore County Sheriff’s Office. CIT is well-known throughout the state for providing mental health awareness training for police officers and other first responders.

These distinct partnerships were formed under the collaborative’s umbrella:

  • The Sandhills Schools Partnership includes NAMI-MC, Sandhills Center, Moore County Schools (MCS) and FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital Behavioral Services to develop and implement a comprehensive program to train all school personnel about mental illness, bullying, and suicide awareness and prevention.
  • The Sandhills Special Events Partnership is made up of NAMI-MC, Sandhills Center, Moore County Schools, and FirstHealth of the Carolinas. This group focuses on public awareness and draws on expertise from a wide range of community supporters beyond the core group.
  • The Sandhills Public Safety Partnership consists of NAMI-MC, Sandhills Center, Moore County Public Safety and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services. Through this group, a two-day training program was developed to provide CIT-like training to public safety first responders, including telecommunications professionals, and emergency medical service (EMS) and fire department personnel.

Present to accept the award were: Victoria Whitt, CEO of Sandhills Center; Sheriff Neil Godfrey, Moore County; Linda Evans, Moore County Schools; Mary Silverman, FirstHealth; and George Reynolds, NAMI-MC. In her acceptance remarks, Ms. Whitt stressed that the partnership has reached far beyond what anyone could have done alone, and expressed her gratitude to the other partners.

The NC Council is the statewide association that represents LME-MCOs in North Carolina, providing a strong, cohesive, statewide voice through policy analysis, communications, technical assistance, conferences and training programs. The NC Council’s goal is to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to improve care and services system-wide.

Each year, the NC Council seeks to identify innovative and effective community programs that have been instrumental in serving persons with disabilities in North Carolina. Winners are selected by a committee which includes directors and board members of LME-MCOs. Other 2016 Programs of Excellence Award winners included:

  • Excellence in Care Integration — UNC ACTT Team Primary Care Integration, Alliance Behavioral Healthcare.
  • Excellence in Best Practice – Child First Program, Trillium Health Resources.
  • Partnership to Improve Services — Vaya Health.
  • Crisis Response – Cleveland Crisis and Recovery Center, Partners Behavioral Health Management.
  • Prevention, Outreach and Wellness – Robeson County Bridges for Families. Eastpointe.
  • Consumer-Directed Supports – Bitty and Beau’s Coffee, Trillium Health Resources.