From October 2015 – May 2016, LWC Class XVI participants brainstormed, planned, prioritized, and developed strategies to tackle issues they felt were important to Waupaca County and its residents. Following are summaries, in their own words, of their projects and why they chose to work on them as well as links to the videos for each of their presentations.
Accessing Mental Health –
We’d like to focus on Mental Health issues in Waupaca County. We feel this is a critical issue facing the community. There are several facets that need to be improved related to reducing stigma, improving access to services, and improving general recognition of mental health and its importance to the public. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) defines mental health as ““a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”1 It is estimated that only about 17% of U.S adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health.2 There is emerging evidence that positive mental health is associated with improved health outcomes.
Mental health issues are important because they also manifest themselves in a multitude of other issues that affect a community. It has been postulated that there are determinants of mental health just as there are physical health. These include: adequate housing, safe neighborhoods, equitable jobs and wages, quality education and equity in access to quality healthcare. It is crucial that a population, whose goal is better health outcomes, have a comprehensive, accessible and affordable mental health network.
Our project is focused on increasing awareness and removing stigma. Since the majority of an individual’s time is typically spent at school or work, we focused on resources available to adults at work and evaluating support provided by the largest employers in Waupaca County. We evaluated awareness, resources available and openness for support, with the hope that the groundwork can be laid to continue a partnership with the participating employers.
- World Health Organization. Strengthening Mental Health Promotion. Geneva, World Health Organization (Fact sheet no. 220), 2001.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health, 1999.
House the People ~ Transitional Housing workgroup
The six members of the House the People workgroup came together to collaborate on the important, but seemingly unnoticed problem of homelessness and housing insecurities within Waupaca County. The members of the group notice and intersect with the problem of homelessness from a variety of professional backgrounds. Upon inception, the members of the group each discussed their professional experiences and barriers in working with the community members who are homeless or experience housing insecurities. In addition to identifying a lack of resources and support for this population the group concluded that an important component to eliminating housing barriers is to increase awareness within the County of the prevalence and impact of the homeless population to Waupaca County. Therefore the group’s focus was to gather information to be used to inform and increase awareness within the community.
Drug Issues Facing Waupaca County
For many of us drug use touches our lives in some shape or form, whether it’s in our family, close friends or in our community. We chose drug use in Waupaca County because we all know there is a problem and we want to help Educate, Prevent and give some Knowledge to the problem.
Our project started out around the table with knowing little about each other. We talked about several angles to this problem and how we could get the word out. It wasn’t until our Madison trip that we discovered the benefits of a drug court. That’s when we decided to work toward a drug court for Waupaca County. We also went to different meetings in Waupaca County related to the drug problem in our county.
Our project is about our steps we took along the way to show how bad of a drug problem Waupaca County faces, and how proud of what we have accomplished over several months. You will get an eye opener! We will share some interesting facts, talk about the meetings some of us went to. Also explain what a drug court is along with some power points used in schools and share about our meeting with Honorable Judge Zuidmulder.