CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA – Today, Second Lady Karen Pence visited Charlotte to raise awareness about mental health and veteran suicide prevention efforts underway in the community; and to highlight programs and resources that support entrepreneurship among the military spouse community.

Mrs. Pence first participated in a Veteran Suicide Prevention Roundtable with Assistant Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use, Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, Congressman Dan Bishop, and organizations participating in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Governor’s & Mayor’s Challenges. Mrs. Pence learned more on how the different Mecklenburg County public, private, and nonprofit partners are working together to implement the SAMHSA challenge with a focus on increasing access to services and support; strengthening the continuum of care; and identifying critical data elements to measure impact and quality of care. To learn more about the challenge, click here.

Following the suicide prevention roundtable, Mrs. Pence visited a military spouse owned business, DocTerra Mobile Veterinary Services, PLLC. There, she met with military spouse owner and veterinarian, Dr. Terra Smith, her USMC veteran husband, and two Small Business Administration (SBA) Representatives. Mrs. Pence was given a tour of the mobile clinic. Terra shared more about how the SBA worked with her to start the business, her passion for animal care, and how her business has been growing and adapting during the COVID-pandemic.

Mrs. Pence and Dr. McCance-Katz then visited HopeWay Mental Health Treatment Center to participate in a roundtable discussion on mental health resources and veteran programs available at the center. The roundtable participants included art and music therapists who shared more on the Center’s art and music therapy programs offered to clients; as well as the center’s new veteran coordinator who talked about the work being done to help veterans. During the discussion, Mrs. Pence highlighted the importance of addressing mental health issues; and she discussed her role as the Lead Ambassador for PREVENTS to help raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention for veterans. Lastly, two clients shared their testimonials about their experiences at the treatment facility.