What can communities do?
Communities can take an active role in reducing the impact
of mental illness and its risk factors. The OHC encourages communities to
adopt evidence-based strategies. Below are some ideas for communities to
consider when addressing mental health.
Improve access to appropriate care. Building a
community that supports access the right care at the right time
is critical. Efforts can focus on reducing barriers to care, improved
referrals between community organizations, enhancing the healthcare workforce,
and advocating for change that positively increases access to appropriate care.
Improve education and awareness. Mental illness is a
disease that many in communities are still unfamiliar with. Efforts
should be targeted at increasing awareness around mental health and substance
misuse, as well as equipping people with the knowledge to provide support to
others suffering from the diseases, such as programs like Mental Health First
Stabilize individuals in crisis. Individuals
who are experiencing a mental health or substance misuse crisis are too often
without appropriate community support. Community efforts should focus on
increasing access to immediate care through direct service provision and
improvement of community systems to offer assistance.
Focus on vulnerable populations. Some groups
within a community may be more susceptible to mental health struggles. Communities
should examine potentially vulnerable populations and, if disparities exist,
community partners should determine appropriate approaches.
To see what our community is doing about this health priority and what progress has been made, view our Community Health Improvement Plan: