Appointments to the Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health & Substance Use announced

RALEIGH — Chief Justice Mark Martin announced his seven appointments to the newly formed Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health and Substance Abuse. The Chief Justice will co-chair the Task Force alongside Rick Brajer, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Chief Justice’s appointments include:

— Hon. Samuel J. Ervin, IV, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of North Carolina

— Hon. Donna Stroud, Associate Judge, North Carolina Court of Appeals

— Hon. Joseph Buckner, Chief District Court Judge, District 15B

— William Lassiter

— Dr. Mike Lancaster

— Katherine Peppers

— Deborah Newton

In addition, Chief Justice Martin has designated liaisons to the Task Force from two key stakeholder groups. Wake County District Attorney Lorrin Freeman will serve as liaison for the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys, and Greta Metcalf will serve as liaison for the Governor’s Task Force on Safer Schools, where she was appointed by the Governor for her expertise in public-private partnerships providing mental health resources in K-12 schools.

“The Judicial Branch plays an important role in North Carolina’s efforts to respond effectively to the mental health needs of our communities,” said Chief Justice Martin. “I am confident that these judicial officials and leaders in mental health will provide significant contributions to the Task Force, ensuring that North Carolina put forward its best efforts toward providing the resources necessary to protect vulnerable citizens while reducing crime and strengthening communities.”

Chief Justice Martin’s appointees will join members from the Executive and Legislative branches, as well as stakeholders from related private sector providers, local government leadership, and non-governmental entities. The Task Force will make recommendations to all three branches of government with the aim of improving the lives of individuals and families affected by these issues.

The full membership of the Task Force can be found in the Governor’s press release. More information is available in the Executive Order creating the Task Force.