Monday August 26, 2019

Eight ways you can explore, engage and enjoy

Services that improve quality of life can help residents who struggle with hectic work schedules, chronic disease management and mental health concerns. Cabarrus leaders encourage residents to explore parks, engage in arts and enjoy local resources this month in order to find life balance.

“There are a lot of free and low-cost opportunities for Cabarrus residents to live healthy lifestyles,” said Cabarrus County Manager Mike Downs. “People move here for the quality of life. We’re able to provide amenities, programs and services that help balance the ups and downs of life. It’s all about creating healthier, happier families and a stronger, connected community.”

Downs helps lead the Cabarrus County Mental Health Advisory Board (MHAB), an initiative to coordinate mental health resources, care and crisis response. The group includes elected officials and local government leaders, law enforcement, courts, emergency responders, non-profit organizations, medical providers and healthcare agencies.

Throughout May, the MHAB’s partner agencies will promote messages that focus on work-life balance, animal companionship, spirituality and religion, and recreation and social connections as ways to boost mental health and general wellness.

The outreach supports “May is Mental Health Month,” an initiative started 70 years ago by Mental Health America (MHA) to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. Mental Health America of Central Carolinas is a Mental Health Advisory Board partner.

According to MHA, healthy lifestyles can help to prevent the onset or worsening of mental health conditions, as well as chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes and obesity. ‍

Here are eight ways Cabarrus County residents can balance life:

1. Find your fit

The cities and County offer free and low-cost classes, events and programs for all ages and abilities. To learn more about County services, visit or follow them on Facebook. Stay connected to municipal opportunities by visiting your city’s websites and social media.

2. Visit local parks

Walk or bike along trails, meditate near a pond, fish, ride a paddleboat or reflect at monuments. Visit for a listing of local parks and amenities.

3. Become a lifelong learner

In addition to collections and programming at the County’s five library branches, your free library card gives you access to online courses, entertainment and an extensive digital catalog. Visit or the library's Facebook page.

4. Enjoy local greenways and blueways

From greenways in urban and rural areas to kayaking down Rocky River, municipal and Carolina Thread Trail ( paths help connect you with nature. You can also Loop the Loop in Kannapolis or participate in the Run Kannapolis series (, which supports the City’s “Discover a Healthy Life” brand. The next race is the May 18 Rhythm-N-Run 5K.

5. Engage with the arts

Cabarrus offers an abundance of free opportunities to connect with the arts. Kannapolis ( and Harrisburg ( host regular concert series, movies, festivals and more. The Galleries at the Cabarrus Arts Council hosts free art exhibitions. From May 16 to July 26, you can view the “On Paper” exhibition, which includes prints, books and sculptures that explore and manipulate the materiality of paper.

6. Volunteer at the Animal Shelter

The Cabarrus County Animal Shelter accepts volunteers at its Hwy 49 location in Concord. Volunteers can walk the dogs, supervise and play with animals, assist the rescue coordinator and clean. Call 704-920-3288 or email

7. Learn about Mental Health in Cabarrus

Visit for information, education and resources to help those navigating the challenges of mental health care.

8. Train in Mental Health First Aid

Mental Health First Aid trainings provide specific tools and resources to help understand mental health and properly direct those suffering from mental health disorders. To learn more, call 704-920-3160.

Additional resources

Mental illnesses are common and treatable. When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. Remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being.

For more information on “May is Mental Health Month,” visit MHA’s website at‍

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