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Mental Health & Substance Use

Thriving and resilient communities include opportunities for people to have socio-emotional supports that prevent anxiety, depression or substance use from beginning in the first place as well as treatment for those issues when they do arise.

Mental health was ranked the #2 health issue that must be addressed to improve the quality of life in our community, with community members and service providers noting social isolation and persistent sad or hopeless feelings among teens, LGBTQ+ people, new parents, and older adults. In addition, opioid abuse and the proliferation of fentanyl were reported as concerns.

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GOal 1 -
Improve social and emotional supports over the life course.

Objective 1: Increase percent of parents who are screened and connected to mental health supports. 

1.1 Conduct analysis to identify the sub-populations in most need of focus, including stratification by race, age, region, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, language, and homeless status.

1.2 Conduct gap analysis of parenting resources by region and socioeconomic status.

1.3 Use analysis to inform initiatives such as expanding access to community-based training and information on preventive mental health strategies and resources for families, community members, and providers.

1.4 Adopt postpartum toolkit with mental health resources and other supports for new parents.

1.5 Assess and expand the availability of information and referral websites/access lines to make navigation of existing mental health services easier for the public.

1.6 Expand and build upon parent education & support for parents of children of any age.

1.7 Expand and strengthen the Services Affirming Family Empowerment (SAFE) program to ensure access and an active program presence in all key geographic regions of the County and for children of any age.

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Objective 2: Increase percent of teens who are screened and connected to mental health supports.

2.1 Conduct analysis to identify the CenCal sub-populations in most need of focus, including stratification by race, age, region, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, language and homeless status.

2.2 Use analysis to inform initiatives such as expanding access to community-based training and information on preventive mental health strategies and resources for families, community members, and providers.

2.3 Work closely with providers and partners in public health and education to impart a consistent set of messages and informational campaigns on understanding and addressing critical teen issues, such as youth mental health access, the impact of social media on mental health, and suicide.

2.4 Support the continued expansion of school-based wellness centers in the County that provide mental health services to school-age children and youth.

2.5 Assess and expand the availability of information and referral websites to make navigation of existing mental health services easier for the public.

Objective 3: Reduce older adult suicide deaths by 15%.

3.1 Conduct analysis to identify older adult sub-populations in most need of focus, including stratification by race, age, sex and, if possible, region.

3.2 Collaborate with Local Aging and Disability Action Plan workgroup to conduct assessment on older adult programming availability across the county.

3.3 Use analysis to inform initiatives such as the creation of communication toolkits, provider education on the importance of screening older adults, or programming to reduce isolation.

3.4 Establish a task force focused on assessing the behavioral health needs specific to aging and older adults (60+ years old); conduct a gaps analysis to discern adaptation of community services and supports for this growing county population.

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Image by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦

Objective 4: Reduce drug-related deaths by 20%.

4.1 Analyze current data around drug-related deaths (e.g. age, sex, county location, toxicology) and, in particular, emerging trends in opioid overdose deaths.

4.2   Expand awareness and education for providers and hospitals about medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including medication for alcohol use disorder, tobacco use disorder, and opioid use disorder, and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment options.

4.3 Pilot project where ambulances deliver buprenorphine in the field when responding to an overdose-related call.

4.4 Work closely with partners in public health and education to impart a consistent set of messages and informational campaigns on understanding and addressing substance use.

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