Residents say behavioral health remains top health issue in Yampa Valley
Mental health is the number one reason for hospitalization in the Yampa Valley, ranking ahead of heart disease, congestive heart failure, diabetes, all injuries and stroke.
Therefore, it makes sense that behavioral health, including mental health, should be the top health priority as determined by the recently released 2022 Yampa Valley Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA).
“Using three-year combined estimates from 2018 to 2020, mental health is the leading cause of hospitalization in the region, followed by heart disease,” notes the CHNA report.
Mental health hospitalization rates in Moffat County were significantly higher at 3,273 per 100,000 inhabitants compared to 2,352 for the region and 2,837 per 100,000 for Colorado as a whole.
Survey respondents said the four worst health problems in Yampa Valley were all drug or substance use, misuse and abuse, poor mental health (52%), and suicide and suicidal tendencies, according to 67% of respondents. (50%) said it was related to behavioral health, including; and social isolation (21%). The drugs of greatest concern to community members are opioids (68%), alcohol (56%), amphetamines (49%) and methamphetamines (45%).
“None of the information shared at CHNA was truly surprising. said Brittney Wilburn, Executive Director of The Partnership.
“My sense is that COVID is complicating matters,” Wilburn said. “I think what we do over the next three years will historically demonstrate the impact COVID has had. There is a growing experience unique to providers and individuals accessing mental health care services.”
Mental health is a concern among adults and youth in the Yampa Valley.For example, the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey Data show that high school students in the region experiencing depressive symptoms increased significantly to 31.5% between 2015 and 2019, up from 23.3% previously.
“We are in a sad state of affairs,” Wilburn said, as more valley residents need more mental health.
“The medical and behavioral health providers needed to do this work cannot afford to live here and provide the services needed in our community,” Wilburn said. “We have to get creative to find ways to meet the medical and behavioral needs of our communities.”
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration defines behavioral health as promotion of emotional health, prevention of mental illness and substance use disorders, and treatment and services for mental and/or substance use disorders.
Wilburn said he found the link between behavioral health and chronic disease “very interesting.”
“Many links exist between behavioral health and other chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and arthritis, so prioritizing behavioral health will help improve chronic health in the Yampa Valley. It will also address the spread of disease,” the report notes.
The second rated health priority defined in the assessment was access to culturally and linguistically adapted care.
“The challenge of accessing culturally and linguistically responsive care and not having enough providers is exacerbated for Yampa Valley people with language and/or cultural barriers to care,” the report said. pointing out. For example, members of the Latino or Hispanic community say they “feel that providers tend to complain or think they are taking too long during a visit.”
“This is an underlying issue of health equity. It is critical that everyone in our community receives high-quality, dignified care,” Wilburn said.
The report also notes that it is not surprising that some key health priorities are more expensive to buy locally, housing costs are discounting people, and it is difficult to find well-paid jobs. The report highlights the factors. Some residents find it difficult to meet their basic needs because public transport is not available in all sections of the valley.
The Community Health Needs Assessment will engage public health agencies, hospitals, community health centers and other key partners to identify health priorities and assist Yampa Valley in program planning and resource allocation over the next 3-5 years provide the opportunity to Partner institutions will utilize assessment data from Northwest Colorado Health, UCHealth Yampa Valley Medical Center, Root County Public Health, United Way, Craig’s Memorial Regional Health, and others.
In this year’s CHNA report, produced every three years, a strong sample of 1,167 community members responded to the survey. The report also identified cancer, chronic diseases, and preventable or unintended injuries as other community concerns.
The CHNA study will run from November 2021 to June 2022 and incorporate community input conferences, community survey results, public health data, and socio-economic data. This report was produced by her Health Management Associates in Denver.
The full report is posted online at thehealthpartnership.org/chna..
To contact Suzie Romig, call 970-871-4205 or email [email protected].