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'They put into our heads that we’re worth something' | Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office launches mental health program

Leaders say the ten-session psychosocial education process brings groups of jailed men and women together to work through many of the issues they all share.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Being locked behind bars can leave some feeling lost, but at the Mecklenburg County Detention enter there are efforts to change that. 

"They put into our heads that we’re worth something. That even though we’re a felon we still have the opportunity to do good things in life," a resident of the detention center told WCNC Charlotte.

And we’re told those good things start from within. 

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As part of the In2Me Program, the goal is for residents to have a better understanding of themselves. 

Leaders say the ten-session psychosocial education process brings groups of jailed men and women together to work through many of the issues they all share. 

"Sometimes it’s hard to open up so it let us know no matter what walks of life we come from we all have something in common and we have common ground we can stand on and respect one another," a resident said.

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But despite this positive progress, the Mecklenburg County jail has also recently seen some setbacks too. 

State inspectors cited deficiencies across the jail’s emergency systems like fire alarms and broken security cameras along with reports of overcrowding. 

But the sheriff says while these inmates remain in custody the priority is always to take care of their physical and mental needs. 

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"Helping them understand and remove the stigma around mental health is a key component to helping them understand how to move forward," Clifford Matthews, Jr., In2Me Program instructor, said.

Imagining a future beyond a jail cell that program leaders believe could be best for this group and overall public safety too. 

"Most definitely help me when a situation confronts me to take a step back and look at it from a different perspective so it doesn’t result in the same actions that got me in here," a resident said. 

Contact Briana Harper at bharper@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

WCNC Charlotte is committed to reporting on the issues facing the communities we serve. We tell the stories of people working to solve persistent social problems. We examine how problems can be solved or addressed to improve the quality of life and make a positive difference. WCNC Charlotte is seeking solutions for you. Send your tips or questions to newstips@wcnc.com.

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