Summit County Health Department releases mental health survey results
Summit County residents say those who are suffering from mental health issues and addiction don’t have enough access to local healthcare providers and support services, with most believing adequate services don’t exist here.
Those and other details about the gaps in the county’s mental health and substance abuse services are revealed in the county-wide mental health survey results the Summit County Health Department is preparing to release.
The questions referenced accessibility of mental health services, treatment, follow-up and payment. Group discussions with community stakeholders and residents were also held to gain additional insight. According to the mental health survey report findings, more than 60 people attended the discussions.
The survey was the result of conversations between the Summit County Council, Valley Behavioral Health and the Health Department that occurred over the course of more than a year. A steering committee comprised of community members from the school districts and Park City Police Department created the survey with the help of the cooperating agencies.
Officials are planning to use the information from the survey to formulate a strategic plan about how to better meet the community’s mental health and substance abuse needs. Approximately 1,100 participants responded, representing less than 5 percent of the county’s population. Most of the responses came from those living in Park City and the Snyderville Basin, while approximately 25 percent were from those on the East Side of the county. Nearly 15 percent of the responses came from residents who identify as Hispanic.
“I think it was a very inclusive approach. We, as the committee, spent countless hours working with the consultants to develop questions that would be able to give an enormous amount of data without taxing the respondent and I feel that we have received a lot of information that will be beneficial for the council to move forward,” said Shad Sorenson, South Summit School District superintendent and committee member. “It has shown us, what some of us intuitively knew, that people do not feel many resources are available or comprehensive enough to address the needs of mental health.”
According to the survey report, five directives have been identified based on the results: educate and cultivate awareness; increase capacity and access; improve coordination of treatment; build community partnerships; and address funding gaps.
The Health Department is preparing to release the results to the County Council at 4:20 p.m. during the Nov. 9 meeting at the Sheldon Richins Building. Council members are scheduled to consider adopting a mental health resolution and an implementation plan based on the survey’s findings.
“This has been a community-driven process since its beginning almost two years ago,” Rich Bullough, Health Department director, stated in a release. “I want to thank all of the survey participants and encourage the public to participate as we move forward. Mental health is an issue we need to recognize throughout the county and it will take full community engagement to make this plan a success.”
The “Mental Health Survey Findings and Community-Based Strategic Planning Directives for Summit County” report will be available at summitcountyhealth.org following the Nov. 9 County Council meeting.
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After previous failed attempts, the South Summit High School Gay-Straight Alliance met for the first time Oct. 1.