CLH: Insights into Behavioral Health

Jan 12, 2024 | News & Events

At our latest Community Lunch Hour, we had the privilege of hosting Gretchen Hintz from Portage County Health and Human Services. Gretchen provided valuable insights into the region’s behavioral health landscape, emphasizing how it affects everyone in our community. She highlighted that mental wellness is not just a personal matter but something that affects the dynamics among friends, family, workplaces, and local organizations. Mental health is closely linked to other parts of our lives, just like our physical health. The issues we face in mental health often have more than one cause. 

To understand the dynamics in our area, we can look at several sources of data: Portage County Conduit, 2023 Portage County Life Report, Waushara County ALICE data, and community feedback from surveys or meetings. 

The chart below shows that even though most people believe mental health services are available, many also feel these services are unaffordable.

These insights are vital for shaping our response to the community’s specific needs. Gretchen provided further context around the shift from in-patient to community-based treatment in mental health, a movement that gained national momentum in the late 20th century. 

Recently, there’s been a significant rise in awareness around mental health and wellness, alongside a growing conversation about enhancing community support and services for a broad spectrum of mental health challenges. In Portage County, we’ve seen an encouraging rise in awareness and dialogue around mental health and wellness. This includes concerted efforts to address challenges like wait times for services, providing interim support before accessing a provider, suicide prevention, and creating accessible resources for the public.

While we all continue to work together to address these broader systems issues, Gretchen offers several practical suggestions for individuals looking to make a positive impact in this area.

To continue the momentum, we invite you to get involved with the initiatives and activities listed below:

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