Hello Kittitas County!
Thanks for being patient- it has been over a year since I last posted, but now it is time to get back at it!
Mental health: happiness, sadness, stress, coping, and how we manage the challenges of day to day life.
We could use more help in our community; we need more mental health counselors and more resources to help people, of all ages, to live to their fullest. In Washington State, the ratio of community members to mental health providers is 360:1. In Kittitas County, the ratio is almost double at 710:1. This means that for an individual with mental health needs in our community, it is more difficult to receive help.
In a 2018 community health survey, Kittitas County residents rated mental health as their #1 concern. In a way, it is no surprise: Kittitas County data suggests our community is vulnerable to mental health stress. Kittitas County is one of the worst in the state when it comes to income disparity. We have many who are very wealthy and many more who are very poor. 17% of children live in poverty here, while 25% of homes are single parent households. A staggering 24% of high school students had a suicide plan in 2018. Meanwhile, Kittitas Fire and Rescue experienced a 74% increase in calls related to mental health issues from 2017 to 2019.
We need help, and you can help: Kittitas County Health Network supports a 1/10th of 1% sales tax initiative to provide funds to support mental health services in our community. This sales tax requires approval from our county commissioners. Write them or call them to encourage approval of the 1/10th of 1% sales tax initiative. To me, it’s clear- lets do it!
Learn more: on March 6th I interviewed Greg Aubol, director of Central Washington Comprehensive Mental Health and Steve Panattoni, our Kittitas County Jail Superintendent, on my radio show about mental health in our community and the proposed sales tax. Listen to the podcast to hear from these amazing individuals working tirelessly to make our community a better place to live. Dr John’s Radio Show on Ellensburg Community Radio. Eburgradio.org. Follow the link to listen :