Thirty Hispanic residents of La Plata County gathered Sunday at the Durango Community Recreation Center to brainstorm ideas to incorporate mental health into overall medical care.
The meeting was one of the focus groups the sponsoring Citizens Health Advisory Council has convened to define behavioral health and make it a component of general wellness.
Project manager Jaynee Fontecchio Spradling said prior meetings have brought together young people, business interests, medical providers, faith-based groups, nonprofits and rural communities, among them Bayfield and Ignacio residents and tribal members.
Representatives of all sectors are scheduled to meet from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. May 14 at the La Plata County Fairgrounds to discuss how to create an integrated approach to health care.
“There is a widespread belief in the community that there are large, unmet behavioral-health needs and that behavioral health is rarely integrated with medical care,” Fontecchio said.
The call for integrated health care came at a meeting of 70 stakeholders in May 2013, she said. Grants were acquired from The Colorado Trust and The Colorado Health Foundation six months later.
La Plata County stakeholders are using the eight dimensions of health – emotional, financial, social, spiritual, occupational, physical, intellectual and environmental – developed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration as a model, Fontecchio said,
All eight aspects of health contribute to mental stability, she said.
Participants in the discussion Sunday spent time defining mental health, the stigma of seeking counseling and barriers to getting counseling. Some offered personal or observed incidents affecting mental health.
If someone wants to voice an opinion, a questionnaire is available online until April 20, Fontecchio said. The address is www.chaclaplata.org.