The spotlight shone on community mental health and school safety this month at the Dubois Center at UNC Charlotte Center City, where leaders, including Cato College of Education Dean Malcolm Butler, gathered to discuss the implementation of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) with U.S. Senator Thom Tillis.
In a collaborative effort, Butler, alongside Tillis, Charlotte Mayor Vi Lyles, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Superintendent Crystal Hill, and representatives from healthcare, government, and nonprofits, engaged in a roundtable discussion. The focal point was the exploration of ways to bring the legislation to life, with a particular emphasis on harmonizing and modernizing approaches to mental health. Enthusiasm surrounded the discussion, centered on the investment in critical community services.
UNC Charlotte reaffirms its commitment to providing access to support by preparing the next generation of teachers, social workers, school leaders, and mental health professionals to address the intricate needs of schools and communities.
“With over 500 students currently enrolled in the counseling and social work programs in the Cato College of Education and College of Health and Human Services, we acknowledge the need for even more mental health professionals to meet the growing needs of our state. In collaboration with our colleagues, we will ensure that our graduates are well-prepared to meet those needs,” stated Butler.
Highlighting an example of successful institutional collaboration, Butler also mentioned a recent grant led by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction to support student mental health. UNC Charlotte stands united with eight school districts and two universities in supporting this grant.
Roundtable participants included:
- Senator Jim Burgin, North Carolina General Assembly
- Elyse Dashew, Chairman, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education
- Deputy Chief Jacquelyn Hulsey, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department
- Brad Lanto, The Independence Fund
- Dr. James Rachal, Wake Forest University School of Medicine and Atrium Health
- Dr. Grant Campbell, former Lt. Col., U.S. Army Medical Corps
- Dr. Kevin Marra, HopeWay
The BSCA strives to enhance community safety through key initiatives, expanding resources in mental health support, school safety, juvenile justice, gun violence prevention, and community policing.