A Recent Report Suggests a Troubling Trend
The Children’s Initiative (a 2013 AHF Mission Support grantee) recently released their San Diego County Report Card on Children and Families: Report Card 2013.
As one would expect, the report contains some good news and some bad news – some indicators have improved, while others have either stayed the same or have gotten worse. One topic in particular that’s receiving a lot of attention these days and that is discussed in the report is Mental Health.
In the San Diego Unified School District, about 10 percent of females and 7 percent of males reported they had attempted suicide in the past 12 months in 2013. Approximately 10 to13 San Diego youth commit suicide each year. Whereas the number and percentages may seem low, suicide is preventable given the appropriate care and treatment, making these numbers alarming and unfortunate.
Much hope rests in the expansion of the Affordable Care Act and Covered California with regards to mental health coverage. Our community, however, may face problems in recognizing the need for care, in accessing that care, and in having the appropriate mental health providers available for the youth in our community. Continued efforts to understand where these issues all begin – in the womb, bonding in the first three months, tragedy and trauma – will also be our community challenge if we hope to protect our youth and to create a safe, healthy environment for them to thrive in.
Another significant indicator is nutrition assistance. The trend is increasing, but efforts to outreach to individuals eligible for CalFresh have been deliberate in the past couple of years. For some time, at least since 2009, San Diego County has been among the counties with the lowest enrollment of eligible recipients in the country. Access to food, especially nutritious, healthy food is essential to the ability of young people to pay attention in class and to develop stable, healthy brains. It’s also important for adults, as proper nutrition can help them to become as focused and productive as possible.
While we have some tools available and some healthcare systems in place to help combat this mental health issue, it’s important that we remain proactive and diligent in our fight for suicide prevention. To learn more about suicide rates and trends in San Diego, view the full San Diego County Report Card on Children and Families: Report Card 2013 here. For resources, check out 2-1-1 San Diego, a local information hub dedicated to providing 24-hour service to those in need.
Together, we can make a change in our community! What can you do to help buck this trend?
-Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director
Allaince Healthcare Foundation
About Alliance Healthcare Foundation
Alliance Healthcare Foundation is a San Diego-based nonprofit which works with nonprofit, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties. AHF works to serve the most vulnerable – the poor, working poor, children and homeless by providing grants, advocacy and education to support its region.