To most people, socks are just something to wash on laundry day, but to someone in need, they can be everything. The dedicated team at the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health (CECMH) understands this better than most. Among the 20+ services offered to the Triangle community, they work to provide basic necessities, locate housing opportunities, and find employment for individuals with mental illness.
“A lot of the folks on our [ACTT] team come to [work] from the perspective of their own personal experience,” explains Jeff Neer, LCSW, LCAS; Team Leader for the CECMH Assertive Community Treatment Team program in Wake County (Wake ACTT). “When I started on the team in 2013, I was in the role of peer support specialist. It’s someone who themselves suffers from a mental health condition or are in sustained recovery from substance use. I carry a psychiatric diagnosis myself, and so it’s a lot easier for me to come to this work from the perspective of working with the person where they’re at, because I had a lot of people do that with me.”
Jeff’s dedication to his patients and team motivated him to reach out to the apparel brand Bombas. “When you purchase one [sock, shirt, and/or underwear], we donate one to those in need.” Have you heard this Bombas’ slogan in their commercials?
Bombas and their 3,500 national Giving Partners serve in-need, at-risk, and homeless communities with care, dignity, and respect. (Bombas Impact Report). To date, they have donated over 100 million items to those at-risk, in-need, and experiencing homeless, according to their website, and as a newly appointed Bombas Giving Partner, the Wake ACTT team is now a recipient of those donations.
5,000 socks were delivered to the CECMH Whitaker Mill location in Raleigh. Jeff and his team have already begun distributing the socks among the 1,700+ patients served within the CECMH and the local homeless community. The team is expected to receive underwear and shirts in next year’s donation.
More about the UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health (cecmh.org, c. 2023)
Our mission is to provide care for the ‘Whole Person.’ We work with individuals with serious mental illness and their families to provide evidence-based treatment and support meaningful and productive lives. We focus on early identification and prevention, sustained recovery, and proven clinical and recovery treatment. Care is provided by multidisciplinary teams, including UNC psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, rehabilitation counselors, nurses, and other mental health professionals. We emphasize the integration of psychiatric and medical care. Watch their story: Living Life with Mental Illness.
More about Bombas (bombas.com, c. 2023):
Bombas is a comfort-focused, basics apparel brand with a mission to help those in need. The company was originally founded in 2013 because socks are the #1 most requested clothing item at homeless shelters. Underwear and t-shirts are #2 and #3 respectively. While the brand started with and is known for its extremely comfortable socks, Bombas used its expertise in comfort to launch into apparel with t-shirts in 2019 and most recently, underwear in 2021. For every item purchased, a specially-designed item is donated to the homeless community. To date, Bombas has donated more than 100 million items to those at-risk, in need, and experiencing homelessness. Giving back has been ingrained in Bombas’ DNA since day one, and with the evolution of its product offerings beyond socks, the company continues to be a brand for the homeless community that provides them with specially-designed items that they need most.