The Partnership for a Health Delaware County outlined its community health goals through 2022 during its presentation Friday (Jan. 18) of the Delaware County Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP).
Shelia Hiddleson, health commissioner at the Delaware General Health District, gave an overview of the CHIP in SourcePoint’s Radebaugh Room, where she said the overall health outcome goals are to increase health status in the county and decrease premature death.
Hiddleson said the plan used assessments to determine specific health issues, and the priority topics are mental health and addiction, and chronic disease.
Specifically, Hiddleson said the plan to improve mental health and addiction aims to:
• decrease adult and youth suicide
• decrease adult and youth depression
• decrease adult and youth alcohol use
• decrease youth and child bullying
• decrease adult and youth tobacco use
• decrease drug dependency/abuse
• reduce unintentional drug overdose deaths.
To this end, Hiddleson said the plan calls for organizations and partnerships in the county to implement school-based suicide awareness and education programs, school-based violence prevention programs, and school-based alcohol/other drug prevention programs. The plan also calls on the county to utilize suicide crisis hotlines and cell phone-based support programs, and screen for clinical depression in juveniles 12 and over. It also calls for partnering with schools to provide prevention programming that supports positive mental health.
To combat addiction, the plan calls for expanding community-based comprehensive programs to reduce alcohol abuse, and increasing safe disposal locations for prescription drugs.
Hiddleson also discussed the plan’s goal to combat chronic diseases. She said the plan focuses on decreasing diabetes and heart disease.
To combat diabetes, the plan calls for the partnership to offer diabetes risk assessments and questionnaires to patients so their physicians can learn if they are at risk.
The plan also calls for community-based social support for exercise. According to the plan, the initiative would build, strengthen, and maintain social networks that would encourage positive behavior changes. Examples include setting up walking groups, exercise buddy systems, or physical activity plans with others.
The plan also calls for research into chronic pain management best-practices that aren’t addictive prescription drugs.
The presentation also included discussion of cross-cutting factors, which the plan says are “powerful underlying drivers of well-being, such as access to quality health care, housing affordability and healthy eating.”
The cross-cutting strategies listed in the plan include increasing the amount of affordable housing; providing cultural competence training for health care professionals and other service providers; increasing transportation opportunities and awareness; adopting healthy food initiatives and promoting healthy eating practices through education and skill building.
“There’s a lot of work going into this,” Hiddleson said during her presentation.
She added the problems discussed in the plan came from community feedback.
“We take those things seriously that they said were important to them,” Hiddleson said.
She said community members looking to help make the county healthier can start by focusing on their own health.
“(The community can) try to do those little things that make them healthier every day,” Hiddleson said. “If they have time, get involved in the process. We would love to see how this impacts our general community.”
More information about the plan and partnership can be located at https://delawarehealth.org/partnership-for-healthy-delaware/.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.