(May Newsletter) We know shortages of behavioral health providers deeply affect rural communities like ours. Many of our local providers offer services in private practice, navigating the difficulties of reimbursement and the complex (and often under-resourced) service systems in isolation.
To support our network of mental health resources, every quarter we bring together mental health providers and partners and dive into topics that are at the heart of a well-supported community, from crisis response and suicide intervention, to substance abuse.
In April, this group used a “journey mapping” technique (shout out to Evergreen Data Visualization for the idea!), to take an in-depth look at the parts of our local crisis response continuum. Walking through a few common scenarios, participants named all the touchpoints a person may have with different systems - from emergency responders and social services to health clinics - then evaluated each touchpoint. The product? A visual map of our community’s strengths and opportunities for improvement when mental health crisis occurs (see below).
This exercise highlighted the interdependence of our systems and the power of a truly community-informed approach and practice. We also learned that our local behavioral health providers wanted better connection to and understanding of our county’s 24-hour crisis line, which led us a to a great meeting in May…..