Amara Wellness (then called Person Centered Partnerships) was “birthed” right here in Mecklenburg County back in 2001 when two women decided to start their own Non-Profit company to serve those with developmental disabilities and Thomas S clients. The first services were provided on January 1, 2002 and included Residential Supports, Group Homes, AFLs, and Independent Living Services. The company started out in a small 3 bedroom house on Monroe Avenue and served 27 consumers.
The company remained small for the first couple of years and then added CBI (Client Behavioral Intervention services) with the Mecklenburg County Area Mental Health Center in 2003. Later that same year Mecklenburg County added the Friendship Club. These services included working with individuals with a serious mental illness by providing and teaching daily living skills.
A big change came in 2004 when the North Carolina State Department of Health and Human Services forced all Local Management Mental Health Centers (known as LMEs) to “divest” of all their direct mental health services by contracting with local agencies through a competitive process known as “RFPs” (request for proposals). This allowed local mental health providers to submit a “proposal” to the LME on how they intended to provide the service, the cost involved, etc.
As a result, Person Centered Partnerships was selected by the County and “awarded” one of the RFPs for Adult Case Management Services in 2005 and grew from a small agency to a medium size agency with the addition of 300 consumers and 12 staff (attached to the RFP). It was at this time we moved from the “small” house on Monroe to a larger business office on N. Tryon Street.
Over the next six years Person Centered Partnerships continued to grow by adding additional mental health services, including a psychiatric med clinic, outpatient services (Assessments, Diagnostic Assessments & Outpatient therapy), Psychosocial Rehabilitation Services (a day treatment clubhouse model) and an ACT (Assertive Community Treatment) team. During these years our growth in services caused us to relocate to a larger office suite over at Charlotte East Office Park on Executive Center Drive.
Another big change came in 2012 when we decided to allow SAIL (Southeast Addiction Institute of Learning) to “merge” with our organization. This merger allowed Person Centered Partnerships to add a host of substance abuse services (Substance Abuse Outpatient, Substance Abuse Intensive Outpatient, Substance Abuse Comprehensive Outpatient Treatment, and DWI assessments and classes) to our continuum (along with mental health). We were one of the first (and few) providers in Mecklenburg County to be able to offer “both” mental health and substance abuse services to our participants.
Then in 2014, we were able to add another important “piece” to our continuum of services when we were awarded a SAMSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration) grant for the purpose of providing Primary Care Services. This grant allowed us to open a Primary Care Health Home (PCHH) for the purpose of providing medical care to those individuals who have a mental health and/or substance abuse diagnosis (regardless of insurance).
The addition of Primary Care services now makes us the “only” community based behavioral health provider in Charlotte that provides mental health, substance abuse and primary care services. This way, we are truly able to provide “integrated” health care to our participants.