There’s historically been a pioneer spirit in Mono County. That spirit is alive and well to this day; you see it as you travel along Highway 395. You hear it when you stop and talk to the residents of communities such as Bridgeport and Lee Vining. That pioneer spirit is also alive and well in the Mono County Behavioral Health Department, where the staff is urged to be creative and look for new ways to engage clients and provide services.
The result has been the creation of a “Whole Person Wellness Approach” that looks at the totality of the client – not just the mental health side. It started by asking a consumer on each visit if he or she wanted a blood pressure check; from there, staff began tracking weight and surveying consumers on their perceived wellness. Soon, staff was having conversations with clients in a manner they never had before. Both staff and clients began to see the bigger health picture.
“One barrier you need to take off the table is “well, we don’t have money to do it.” It doesn’t take any money to sit down at a table and talk with people. That’s a freebie, with a huge payoff.” With those words, Nevada County Health Director Michael Heggarty sums up their approach to providing a system of care for kids, teens, and their families. They have broken down silos, ignored the barriers and are working across several different organizations to provide a network of services that starts with mental health, but has grown into much, much more.
To be honest, it started with a cluster of teen suicides in Nevada County—tragedies that while not statistically out of the norm, hit very close together and very close to home. They made people realize they needed to do more to reach out to kids and their families. And so even as funding for collaboration dried up, they collaborated. There is a monthly meeting that includes the leaders of the County Health Department, the Superintendent of Schools, the Courts, Probation, Child Welfare and others agencies that have contact with kids and their families. That trickles down to weekly meetings among other staffers.
In the inner sanctum of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Offices, there’s a display case that houses numerous department artifacts dating back to the 1800s: photographs, badges and handwritten incident logs help tell the department’s storied past. Captain Chris Lathrop likes to stop and take in the department’s rich history. But Captain Lathrop’s focus is in the future – and one mobile application in particular that is making a big difference in how the department fights crime.
The mobile app developed in-house by Ventura County’s IT Department is called iCop – and it’s been a great asset to Sheriff’s Department deputies and investigators.