Mental health and substance use, along with chronic disease are the top health priorities in Madison County, as identified by the 2022-2024 Community Health Assessment and Improvement Plan.
Every three years, Madison County Public Health along with Oneida Health and Community Memorial hospitals undergo a comprehensive assessment to identify health issues most important to our residents. “Health is a complex, multi-faceted topic; it takes a community effort to assess and address health challenges effectively,” states Eric Faisst, Public Health Director. As such, the health department and hospitals partnered with the Madison County Rural Health Council, Inc. to oversee the process. The lead agencies engaged additional community organizations to review assessment results, prioritize health issues, and identify ways to address them moving forward.
Madison County residents experience higher rates of mental health and substance use outcomes compared to the New York State average, including deaths by suicide, opioids, and motor vehicle accidents related to alcohol. The Community Health Improvement Plan builds on the work plan outlined by the Madison County Mental Health Task Force such as school-based mental health services. Madison County Mental Health implemented satellite clinics in local school districts for the 2022-2023 school year.
The Madison County Rural Health Council, Inc. (MCRHC) has also expanded programming to include Mental Health First Aid training. This skills-based training teaches youth, family members, caregivers, school personnel, and other professionals to recognize and help an individual who may be struggling with mental health and substance use. “Mental Health First Aid training reduces stigma and raises awareness of substance use and mental health challenges,” said Christine Paul, Executive Director of the MCRHC. “We’re currently working with 9 school districts in Madison County and look forward to building upon these partnerships in the coming years.
Furthermore, Oneida Health will continue to increase access to behavioral health services in the primary care setting through a collaborative care model. “Each of our organizations must work strategically together with a singular vision in mind to address and improve the health disparities that exist within our communities,” said Jonathan Schiller, President and CEO of Oneida Health. “The Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) is designed to create the road map for us to achieve it moving forward.”
Chronic diseases account for four of the five leading causes of early death among Madison County residents. Healthy behaviors, regular health visits and screenings are key to preventing chronic diseases. “Many individuals avoided routine visits with their primary care providers during the pandemic. We have been working with all of our patients to schedule these important appointments to ensure their healthcare is on track.” Jeffery Coakley, President/CEO of Community Memorial “Maintaining care for preventative diseases with routine primary and specialty care visits is an important step in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
The Community Health Improvement Plan will serve as a blueprint for how organizations will work together to make Madison County a healthier community. The full report is available on the Madison County website: https://www.madisoncounty.ny.gov/2482/10172/Community-Health-Assessment-Improvement-.