In early 2019, our leadership team committed to being part of the local Tobacco-Free Behavioral Health Initiative led by Mecklenburg County Public Health. Over the next several months, we leaned hard on Mecklenburg County’s Tobacco Prevention and Control team for guidance as we planned to make a huge change within our organization: to go completely tobacco-free by 1/1/2021.
We took several steps towards a successful policy implementation, including:
Beginning to gather anonymous staff feedback in April 2019 on tobacco use and potential support of a tobacco-free initiative
Providing nicotine cessation/quit support to staff through our company healthcare plan
Developing a Wellness Committee in September 2019 to begin the groundwork for policy development
Utilizing our partners at DHHS Public Health in Raleigh and leaders at Mecklenburg County Public Health to review our draft of the policy
Having all staff acknowledge receipt of the finalized policy in March 2020
Training all managers and key staff on the benefits of tobacco-free recovery
Facilitating confidential patient interviews to gather feedback on the tobacco-free initiative through partnership with Mecklenburg County Public Health and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Requiring all counselors to attend Tobacco Dependence Treatment training to support the integration of nicotine cessation into our treatment service model
Hosting several virtual town hall meetings/forums to educate all staff on the initiative
Applying for a grant from the American Heart Association to support nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of patches, gum, and lozenges for residential treatment patients
Through planning, hard work, and incredible support from our friends at Mecklenburg County Public Health, we are honored to champion the tobacco-free initiative as one of the largest community-based behavioral health providers in the county.
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Each year, the Mecklenburg County ABC Board accepts applications for Community Health and Wellness Grants. The funds from these grants are utilized by nonprofit organizations to educate, prevent, treat, and study substance abuse disorders. Earlier this year, McLeod Center was awarded a grant of $100,000 by the Mecklenburg County ABC Board to provide education to indigent individuals within the criminal justice system. We are able to provide education to these individuals through our Cognitive Behavioral Intervention and Drug Education School programs.
Since June 2019, McLeod Center has already been able to bring 24 individuals through these programs with the assistance of the ABC Board grant.
Our Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) clinics do not have “days off.” Weekends, holidays, you name it – McLeod Center staff are serving patients daily. In 2018 alone, our Charlotte clinic welcomed 744 new patients. You can imagine that the building has incurred quite a bit of wear and tear over the years. Fortunately, our friends at Sherwin Williams came by to give the building a paint-based makeover!
While McLeod Center’s services primarily address substance use disorder, we recognize that many of our patients suffer from hypertension, various stages of heart disease, or a combination of the two. It was important for us to be a part of this year’s Greater Charlotte Heart Walk, and to walk in support of the many patients, family, and friends who are affected by heart disease.
Although the event was held in the “heart” of Charlotte, members of Team McLeod from several of our outlying sites showed up to support the cause.
As it turned out, we had a lot more in common with one another than just our place of employment. Aunts, uncles, moms and dads, siblings and grandparents – they all influenced us to be a part of the Heart Walk.
In August 2019, McLeod Center celebrated 3 years of partnering with Charlotte’s Metrolina Intergroup to host weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings at our main building. These meetings are open to the community, and they also serve as an introduction to the AA/NA meeting format for clients in our Residential Treatment program. As part of McLeod Center’s recognition of National Recovery Month, and with the help of a grant awarded to us by the Addiction Professionals of North Carolina (APNC), we were able to provide refreshments for one of their September meetings.