Campaign for Community Wellness gets innovative | SierraSun.com
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Campaign for Community Wellness gets innovative

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; In 2005, Placer County launched the Campaign for Community Wellness, through statewide funding from the voter-approved Mental Health Services Act (MHSA/Proposition 63).

The Campaign actively promotes innovative community-based wellness programs for persons in jails and institutions as well as other populations dealing with mental health challenges. It also strives to educate all Placer County residents about the negative affects and costs of stigma associated with untreated mental illness and stress.

To date, the Campaign has delivered MHSA programs in the six most populated areas of Placer County serving more than 18,000 individuals. Approximately $5-$6 million per year is spent on programs and services that are part of MHSA.

and#8220;The Mental Health Services Act has allowed our traditional system of care to transform in ways that better serve the community, doing so at a lower cost. By better partnering with community-based organizations and those affected by mental illness, we enhance our outcomes and results for those we serve,and#8221; said Richard Knecht, director, Placerand#8217;s Children System of Care.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in the United States nearly 26 percent of people 18 and older each year suffer from a recognized mental disorder.

and#8220;This statistic equates to one in four people living with some type of diagnosable mental challenge,and#8221; said Maureen Baumann, director, Placer County Adult System of Care and Placer County Mental Health. and#8220;This is a community issue, and with greater support from the community, we can reduce stigma and support those with mental illness.and#8221;

Today, there are dozens of nonprofit and other community based agencies using Mental Health Services Act funding to serve at-risk persons in Placer County. One of the more recent innovative programs of the campaign is the Soldiers Project. The Soldiers Project has provided peer mentors for more than 15 returning veterans and their families to assist in the critical re-integration back into everyday life. This program also provides information to Placer Countyand#8217;s first responders to better assist veterans in times of crisis.

In addition to funding specific programs, the Campaign educates the public about the importance of prevention and the need for community support. Studies have shown preventing or mitigating the initial challenge with mental health greatly limits the possibility of an individual suffering long-term with a mental illness.

Results from these programs are significant. Placer County is delivering more services that take into account oneand#8217;s race, gender and ethnicity. Additionally, these programs focus on recovery and resiliency of the individual and family. More community-based organizations are delivering innovative mental health programs with proven results. And, the community in general is more aware of the challenges facing those with mental illness. The efforts of the Campaign have truly strengthened Placer Countyand#8217;s wellness.

Placer County is recognized as a leader and innovator in its approach to serving those with mental illness, continuously adapting services to meet the needs of the diverse community. According to a recent release by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson, Placer County ranked in the top five California counties for overall health. Other counties included Marin, Santa Clara, San Benito and San Mateo. This study suggests initiatives to better the health and overall well-being of people living in Placer County are working.

To learn more about Placer Countyand#8217;s Community Wellness initiative and/or to seek help for yourself or for someone with a mental health illness, please contact Placer County Health and Human Services, Tahoe Administrative Office at 530-546-1900 or the Auburn Administrative Office at 530-886-1870. Visit the Campaign for Community Wellness at http://www.campaignforcommunitywellness.org.

For a complete list of resources for mental and behavioral services in Placer County visit the Placer County Network of Care at http://www.placer.networkofcare.org.

Proposition 63/Mental Health Services Act (MHSA)

In 2004, California voters passed Proposition 63 and#8212; the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA). The goal: Transform public mental health services to improve outcomes for under-served populations, as well as those challenged with serious mental health issues.

About the Campaign for Community Wellness

Founded in 2005, the Campaign for Community Wellness (CCW) is a group of citizens who are concerned about and desire to improve the services for people affected by mental illness throughout Placer County. For more information, please visit http://www.campaignforcommunitywellness.org.


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