Priority Area 2: Mental and Behavioral Health
Substance use, specifically opioid use, and mental health, specifically suicide, continue to be major community health issues in Allen County.
The stigma associated with both mental health concerns and substance use, a lack of accountability to complete treatment, and high turnover among providers contribute to underutilized resources and a treatment system that is not as effective as it could be. We want to see a community where all residents can easily access behavioral health services. Community leaders are engaged in prevention efforts and working together through the Allen County Opioid Action Commission to address many of these issues.
As early intervention is the best prevention, this CHIP will focus on leveraging our existing community partnerships to improve access to mental health services for youth, and increase substance use prevention efforts for youth in Allen County.
2023-2026 ACTION STEPS
Key measures: Depression, Suicide Deaths; Unintentional Drug Overdose Deaths
Increase mental health resources and services, and awareness of services:
- Increase awareness of resources through a 211-outreach plan and Mental Health Dashboard.
- Hire a community navigator to serve under-resourced neighborhoods.
- Increase Mental Health First Aid trainings for adults, and adults responding to youth.
- Hold suicide prevention training to adult and high school participants.
- Increase the number of employees who utilize the Employee Assistance Program.
- Increase the usage of the free mental health screening tools on the www.WeCarePeople.org website.
- Utilize surveys to understand the highest Mental Health needs among youth.
- Provide evidenced-based substance use, suicide, and violence prevention programs in schools.
- Ensure individuals at high risk of overdose have access to Naloxone.
- Establish an overdose fatality review board.
Why it’s important in Allen County
Five percent (5%) of youth who completed the survey reported that someone had offered, sold, or given them an illegal drug on school property*
Eight percent (8%) of youth used medications that were not prescribed for them or took more than prescribed to feel good or get high at some time in their lives*
Nearly 1 in 3 (32%) of youth reported they felt so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that they stopped doing some usual activities*
Forty-seven (47) Allen County residents died from drug overdose in 2022.