Yesterday in Eureka, CPEHN hosted the fifth and final town hall meeting to discuss the draft of the California Reducing Disparities Project’s Statewide Strategic Plan to Reduce Disparities in Mental Health. The resulting discussion, which coincided with the final day for public comment on the document, revealed the unique needs faced by the population in Humboldt County and other areas across Northern California.
The overarching theme throughout the meeting was that more emphasis needs to be placed on the unique needs faced by rural populations when interacting with mental health services. Some challenges faced by rural communities include finding adequate transportation to and from mental health services, and the lack of available mental health specialists and professionals. Unlike many of the state’s urban areas, California’s rural areas often have a handful of mental health providers for an entire county or region. At the Eureka town hall, attendees stressed that that the voice of rural California must be included in the final Strategic Plan and that the document can’t be heavily urban-centric. There was also a consensus that more needs to be done to encourage workforce development and capacity building in California’s rural counties and that there should be incentives for providers to work in these areas.