Camber Foundation Supports Our State, Our Wellbeing

According to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS), suicide is the state's leading cause of death for youth aged 10 to 18 and the third leading cause of death for adults aged 19 to 34. Suicide is a major public health issue and affects not only the victims but their families, friends, and community. Research shows that, on average, 135 people are exposed to each suicide. 

This is why, in 2023, the UNC Suicide Prevention Institute and Carolina Across 100 partnered to create the “Our State, Our Wellbeing” program.  

Our State, Our Wellbeing” is a 12-month initiative to identify and implement strategies to improve mental health and decrease the number of suicides in North Carolina. The program assembled 15 cross-sector community collaboratives from 24 counties in the state, to share insights and data from their communities, select interventions, and improve available behavioral and mental health resources.

Thanks to generous support from Camber Foundation, more communities will receive program management support, as well as implementation and travel funds. The Foundation provided $75,000 to partially support the work of six teams operating in 13 North Carolina counties: Brunswick, Camden, Chowan, Cumberland, Currituck, Franklin, Johnston, New Hanover, Orange, Pasquotank, Pender, Perquimans, and Wake.

Camber Foundation supports communities in the eastern section of North Carolina through grantmaking in the areas of education, economic development, and health and wellness, including mental health services and programs.

“Mental health is a top priority for Camber Foundation. Members of the communities we serve in eastern NC expressed to us their grave concern about suicide, particularly among young people,” said Camber Foundation President and CEO Leslie Ann Jackson. “We are grateful that the work of ‘Our State, Our Wellbeing’ will engage community members in collaborating for local prevention and intervention measures that could save lives.”

“The generous gift from Camber Foundation allows us to support additional communities wrestling with increased numbers of suicides,” said Anita Brown-Graham, director of the ncIMPACT Initiative, which houses the program. “We are delighted to use this funding to provide support for almost a third of our teams in North Carolina.”

Communities coming together to learn and collaborate as a cohort is an essential aspect of “Our State, Our Wellbeing,” and the first forum of the program was held from October 24-25, 2023. 100 leaders from 15 community teams came to Chapel Hill to attend sessions from experts and the UNC Suicide Prevention Institute on trends in suicide, mental and behavioral health, access to care in North Carolina, and suicide prevention. Teams collaborated on deciding the vision for their work together and gauging community assets for the work.

The program is moving quickly. In addition to the in-person forum, teams have been meeting in their respective communities and together virtually. In January 2024, the teams gathered virtually for the third time for a session led by the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, which included a discussion of the state’s suicide prevention network, best practices for messaging, and available resources. The teams are poised and eager to embark on their visions for suicide prevention.

The map below illustrates the 15 community collaborative teams, and the counties they come from.



ncIMPACT is a statewide initiative launched in 2017 to help communities use data and evidence to improve conditions and inform decision-making. Part of the ncIMPACT team’s work, Carolina Across 100 is a five-year initiative led by Anita Brown-Graham and her team, to partner with communities in each of North Carolina’s 100 counties to address challenges, both long-standing and new, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.