As the county draws near to the one-year anniversary of implementing the Summit County Mental Wellness Plan, KPCW takes a look at the progress of the plan.
Last November, Summit County Council ratified a Summit County Mental Wellness Plan. The plan has five strategic goals, focusing on access, equity, recovery and reintegration, success and sustainability and prevention and education. The five goals also have nearly 50 objectives to accomplish over the 5 years.
Summit County Mental Health Director Aaron Newman says he views the first year as a success.
“We’re really excited, when we finished phase one we had only about 6% that we didn’t quite get done of that plan, but we’ve continued on with that." Newman continued, "Things change with this too, we’ve had to make a few adjustments. One I know I’ve spoken about here is the clubhouse. We didn’t plan on doing that till year three or four. Thanks to some partnerships we’re now working on it right now and are on track to have it open up June of this coming year. So we’re very excited about that. We had an open house at the Christian Center last week. We had 45 people from the community in attendance. Parents, friends of people, and even individuals that would be members of the clubhouse in attendance."
Another adjustment the mental health department had to make was surrounding the implementation of a Mobile Crisis Outcome Team or MCOT.
“This was something initially in our strategic plan for phase one to begin working on and we made some great process." Newman explained, "Then we caught word that the state legislature was introducing some bills about MCOT’s and to implement them statewide. So, we decided well lets take a pause, lets see what the state’s doing. Now through their budgeting process they’ve divided the state into five mental health crisis districts, which is a step forward but not a good step forward. For the one team that the state is funding for Summit County we’re sharing that with Salt Lake and Tooele county as well. Now while that’s a large area it’s not as bad as it could have been. The eastern side shares one from the Wyoming border down to the Arizona border. So, it could have been a lot worse on those ends. So, what we’re trying to do is there’s a committee put together with members of the community, Park City Police Department and the (Summit County) Sheriff’s Department to really identify what can we do to supplement that here. If we have law enforcement or first responders coming into one of those situations we can have trained professionals on site to help with that.”
Newman says that community support is a large reason why he believes the plan will succeed.
“Well we have a lot to do." Newman said, "This plan was designed as a four to five-year plan and we’re still in year one. The foundational work that has been set right now is incredible. Part of that is our volunteers. We continue to grow in engagement. In the report we put 210 volunteers active we’re probably over 300 now as the clubhouse and other programs have come online. We conservatively estimated about 22,000 hours of volunteer work by our partners. That’s over 10 full time employees doing this work and having that is what’s going to make that possible. Some key areas that we are working on though is how do we continue to work on getting greater access to treatment and care.”