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Supervisors declare May Mental Health Month

Among other things May is now Mental Health Awareness Month.

Members of the Plumas County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution declaring the occasion at the Tuesday, May 7 meeting.

Plumas County Behavioral Health Director Tony Hobson presented the resolution before supervisors.

In 2018, Plumas County Behavioral Health saw 700 clients, Hobson told supervisors. Through the new open access program the department has seen a 100 percent increase this year,” he added.

There are a variety of reasons for that increase, according to Hobson. Many more clients are served through the new managed care organization.

There’s also more access to behavioral health care inside the Plumas County Sheriff’s Correctional Center. Inmates have more access to both therapists and telemedicine mental health care.

Three wellness centers, located in Portola, Greenville and Chester, make behavioral health services more accessible to the people in all parts of Plumas County. “I’d like to express my gratitude,” for offering services in outer areas,” said Supervisor Sherrie Thrall who serves District 3. This includes the Chester/Lake Almanor area.

District 4 Supervisor Lori Simpson said that as a supervisor and a longtime member of the mental health board, she has seen a complete turnaround in services.

And more things are to come as more Mental Health Services Act funding is anticipated, Simpson said.

Through the department’s new open access policy, Hobson said that hospitalization for some clients could be avoided. This often means approximately $200,000 in overtime spent by the department to meet these critical needs, but it is more beneficial for clients and is less costly in the long run.

Hobson said that he has been diligent in making certain the department is operating within its means. Last year in planning for the 2018-19 fiscal year budget, Hobson said he was faced with the previous director’s plans to spend more than $7 million and had $5 million coming in. Hobson immediately began cutting costs and redirecting spending agreements.

As a follow-up to Hobson’s brief presentation before supervisors, Simpson said, “We’re being noticed out there.”

When she describes Plumas County’s new Behavioral Health services, other county supervisors take notice.

Resolution declaring May Mental Health Awareness Month

Whereas mental health is part of overall health; and

Whereas one in five adults experiences a mental health problem in any given year and one in 17 adults lives with mental illness such as major depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia; and

Whereas approximately one-half of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14 and three-quarters by age 24;

Whereas long delays —sometimes decades — occur between the time symptoms first appear and when individuals get help; and

Whereas early identification and treatment can make a difference in successful management of mental illness and recovery; and

Whereas it is important to maintain mental health and learn the symptoms of mental illness in order to get help when it is needed; and

Whereas, every person and community can make a difference in helping end the silence and stigma that for too long has surrounded mental illness and discouraged people from getting help;

Whereas public education and civic activities can encourage mental health and help improve the lives of individuals and their families affected by mental illness;

Now, therefore be it resolved, the Board of Supervisors of Plumas County do hereby proclaim May 2019 as Mental Health Awareness Month in Plumas County.

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