First off, what is the Teton County Community Health Needs Assessment?
It all started back in May 2015, when the coalition of Healthy Teton County completed the very first comprehensive community needs assessment, focusing primarily on the health of Teton County, WY. Several partners of the project include the Teton County Health Department and St. John’s Health, and over 35 community organizations. With the data collected, this coalition identified and prioritized primary health issues of Teton County (if you want to dive deeper into the data & history, see the original assessment here, and the original framework for the improvement plan). Part of the framework recommended re-evaluation of the health status and update plans as needed. The year 2021 means we have now reached our third cycle of assessment!
Of note, so many aspects of health were cited and explored (ie, housing insecurity, "Zoom Town" phenomenon, preventative care, etc.). To see the full report, click here. For the purposes of this post we will focus primarily on the mental health findings.
Some of the major takeaways:
Mental Health listed as the #1 priority by the majority of survey respondents
Alcohol use, domestic violence, and suicide were also listed as top, most-pressing health issues
Substance abuse in general (alcohol, tobacco, drugs) was a highlighted top risky behavior the community wishes to be addressed
Access to healthcare was listed as the #1 most important factor for a healthy community by the majority of survey respondents
COVID-19 pandemic anxiety, general sense of anxiety, and mental health challenges were cited as notable trends/events negatively impacting the health of the community
In general, there tend to be more questions than answers at this stage in the process. In fact, you may be asking yourself, "Now that we have the data, is there an improvement plan?" The estimated publish date of the implementation is end of year 2021, so hopefully soon!
Some other questions and concerns posed by the community, which will receive ongoing attention, include:
What will be the long-lasting mental effects of COVID-19?
How do we address the increasing rates of domestic/family violence?
How do we address the increase in suicidal ideation, self-harm behavior (particularly in youth)?
What are breastfeeding rates as well as the overall landscape of maternal morbidity/mortality?
What is the overall impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on women in particular?
How do we address the increase in demands for mental health, intimate partner violence, and alcohol & drug abuse services?
So in conclusion, there is a lot of work to be done here. Fortunately there is also a lot of interest by the coalition to genuinely understand and address the needs of the community. It is my hope, my vision, and my mission that my practice and expertise will aid in serving our community and promote these health initiatives.
Here are some ways to get you started:
If you are looking to partner with me for some help, click here for a free
Find access to additional mental health resources in Teton County
Continue to check back here for free perinatal mental health tools &