Park City: Top shelf in many ways, but mental health services still lacking
Parents of children who are fighting drug addiction in Summit County currently have to look outside the community for residential care facilities. And children with parents suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease must often do the same.
Others, too, along the spectrum of mental health diseases including depression, alcoholism, PTSD, schizophrenia and suicidal tendencies, to name a few — find it difficult to obtain services close to home.
Local health care and public safety personnel do their best to refer patients to local providers but must rely on a patchwork of services that may be unaffordable or too far away to access. As a result, the treatment may be too little, too late, with tragic results: a violent outburst, a suicide, a traumatized family.
The region’s world-class amenities have grown by leaps and bounds, but our local mental health services have failed to keep up.
The evidence that we can do better is, sadly, abundant. Like the rest of the country, Summit County has seen its share of suicides, overdoses and domestic violence. We owe it to our friends, families and coworkers to do better.
The first step is underway. Thanks to those who have been forthcoming about their own families’ mental health challenges and to receptive county officials, a committee has been formed to address the disparity between what we have and what we need. The group is made up of representatives from local school districts, law enforcement departments and regular citizens who are committed to improving our community’s mental health care offerings. They just completed their first homework assignment.
They created a simple needs assessment survey that asks residents about their experiences with existing mental health care services were they able to find what they needed? Was it affordable? Was there adequate follow-up? Was it easy to get to? Were there language barriers, or another problems?
The questions are straightforward and do not delve into personal specifics. But the answers could provide valuable direction to the committee in terms of where the network is lacking.
Park City and Summit County residents are accustomed to setting high standards and, faced with tough challenges, they have always shown a willingness to meet them head on. The need to expand and improve local mental health services should be no different.
To participate in the survey, visit: surveymonkey.com/r/summit-health
For more information contact Katie Mullaly at the Summit County Health Department, 435-333-1503.
There is also a new citizens group of people who have been affected by or are concerned about mental health issues. The group, CONNECT, is planning several educational events during the month of May. To become a member or for more information email email@example.com or visit the Facebook page, facebook.com/ConnectSummitCounty
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