The Mental Health Task Force is the sole organization in Polk County that exclusively promotes mental health awareness and access to care in the community. As such, the Task Force has a clearly defined set of goals to steer their work in building a healthier population:
- Reduce stigma associated with mental health issues
- Improve access to mental health care
- Increase awareness of mental health issues via educational programming
- Identify and address mental health issues that face our community
Reduce Stigma: Often, the best way to reduce stigma on an issue is to create more knowledge of and around the problem. As such, the Mental Health Task Force has developed a website, mentalhealthpolk.org, and has made a brochure listing all area mental health service providers commonly available.
Improve Access to Care: Because accessing mental health care and resources is difficult for many, programming such as YScreen and Healthy Beginnings offer school and home-based care options. Advantages to these sorts of programs include cost effectiveness, fewer transportation issues, and improvement to the assessment and diagnosis process. Moreover, they offer schools further resources to address potential mental health issues in students.
Increase Awareness: By investing in “upstream” interventions, the Mental Health Task Force hopes to educate Polk County’s youth on healthy lifestyles, as well as address any early childhood causes for concern. Additionally, the Task Force has offered three training initiatives: QPR – Question, Persuade, Refer (how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help); Lifelines, a comprehensive suicide awareness and responsiveness program for teens; and Youth Suicide Prevention, evidence-based suicide prevention programming geared towards educating the community about suicide, including suicidal risk factors, suicide warning signs, and ways to increase an individual’s protective factors.
Identify and Address Issues: Through community surveys, collaboration with local health care providers, and state-wide data collection processes, the Mental Health Task Force can accurately gauge Polk County’s needs concerning mental health. Most recently, a mental health specific Community Health Improvement Plan was created to improve the emotional well-being of Polk county residents. Plans such as these are part of an ongoing effort to address statistical findings with concrete public offerings.
The Mental Health Task Force of Polk County offers public awareness programs and direct services that aim to achieve our goals. Click on the links below to find out more, or you can access more information on our program areas from the Programs drop down menu:
Back of the Door Campaign. A public awareness campaign that reaches Polk Count residents in public buildings throughout the area.
Healthy Beginnings. Healthy Beginnings strives to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma by offering free, early childhood focused care for parents and their children.
QRP. Suicide prevention training that educates the public on how to help someone who may be suffering from mental illness and are thinking about suicide. QPR stands for “Question” “Persuade” and “Refer.”
YScreen. YScreen is a pilot program that provides emotional health screening to students entering high school.