What Do We Need to Improve Our Dismal Mental Health?

This week, I want to unpack a related topic: What mental and behavioral health services does our community need?

First, a quick reminder: the state of mental health is not good, as I described in some detail months ago. Hill Country’s Community 2023 Community Needs Assessment confirms our challenges:

How can we address this challenge?

When Dignity Health (Mercy Medical Center) conducted a needs assessment in 2022, they found that access to mental/behavioral health and substance‐use services was the top health need by a considerable margin:

What specific services or facilities do we need?

The Hill Country needs assessment sought to answer this in its survey of 600+ community members:

At least 55% of respondents said that Shasta County needs 11 services and 4 of those, including 3 in the top 5, demonstrate a need for mental/behavioral health facilities. We need more places where people with severe mental illness and/or addiction can go to receive treatment so they aren’t overwhelming our emergency rooms and jail, and ending up on our streets. At this week’s AT HOME committee meeting, Empire Recovery Center shared that they manage the only 6 drug detox beds in the county - and they regularly have a wait list of 12.

The good news is that the state is preparing now to give over $4 billion to counties and other entities to build behavioral health facilities. Applications for this funding may open as soon as this summer. It would be fantastic for Shasta County to begin assembling a plan now for a modern behavioral health facility.

Don’t think we should build a behavioral health facility in Shasta County? I’d love to hear why. Drop me a note.