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Idaho Enterprise

Community Mental Health project moves forward

The City of Malad has partnered with the University of Idaho to bring a Community Mental Health project to Malad City and Oneida County. The third of six meetings was held on Tuesday night with a group of local citizens who all have a concern about the issue of mental health in the community. 

The mission of the group is to identify mental health issues or obstacles in the community and create an action plan that utilizes $3,000 provided by the University of Idaho to address the issue or obstacle. The vision is to create a more mentally resilient community, reduce stigma and connect individuals to resources.

In previous meetings, each member of the group shared their top priorities. The top priorities that came from those meetings were: aloneness affecting teens and the elderly and the need for connectivity with others; lack of resources, the need for professional help and the need for additional extracurricular activities; education of mental health, decreasing the stigma, and providing coping skills; suicide, the increasing attempts or thoughts of; lack of positive family influence, or even with a strong family influence, not knowing where to turn for help. 

The coordinator, Bracken Henderson with the University of Idaho, indicated that Malad seems to have a lot of resources considering its size. But it was pointed out that people don’t know how to access those resources. The group talked about how to reach out to the people in Oneida County to provide that information. It was pointed out that while schools are in session, there is a lot of positive action that takes place for children, elementary through high school.

One of the action plans being considered is providing a webpage that would be shared by the city, the county, the schools, and hospital and linked with other sites and Facebook that provides resources and information about mental health. A second action item being considered is to have refrigerator magnets printed, enough for each household in Oneida County, to provide telephone numbers, emails, and other access information of providers for our city and county. The third action item being considered is a plan that the school district recently became involved with called Care Solace. The program is available for cities also, and Mayor Joan Hawkins is interested in seeing if the city could join with the school district in that program.

Another suggestion made was that the community needs to become involved in more volunteer programs, such as the 911 Day of Service, where adults and children all come together to serve. Service and volunteering can provide a sense of purpose, reduces stress, and increases positive feelings. It also provides a way for people to connect with one another.

Assignments were made to investigate these plans and report at the next meeting, which will be held in May.

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