Two famous quotes are; “Two heads are better than one” and “There is wisdom in many counselors.”
The Craig County Prevention Planning Team (CPPT) believes in that philosophy and has asked the Monroe Health Center (MHC) to join their team.
CPPT is a community prevention planning team consisting of various community voices, and MHC is a healthcare business with a massive presence in Craig County. “MHC was asked to be part of CPPT because of the massive role they play in the health of the Craig County community,” J.D. Carlin shared.
Carlin is the Prevention Specialist of Prevention Services with Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare and Team leader for the CPPT.
CPPT is a coalition of individuals striving to represent the Craig County community to promote the healthy development of youth in Craig County. They commented that they envision a community that helps youth to lead healthy, successful, non-violent, alcohol and drug-free lives through education, leadership, advocacy, role modeling, collaborative planning and community action.
“Ultimately, CPPT wants to help youth maximize their potential to become positive members of the Craig County community both now and in the future,” Carlin added.
Currently, the team is composed of representatives from BRBH, Craig County Public Schools, Monroe Health Center, the Health Department, the Department of Social Services, the Sheriff’s Office, Juvenile Justice, RAYSAC and other Craig County Community Leaders.
They meet quarterly to assess needs, engage in strategic planning, and with the support of Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare (BRBH) and the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition (RAYSAC), implement evidence-based prevention programming and educational presentations and support youth leadership.
Monroe Health Center (MHC) oversees operations of Craig County Health Center, Craig County Dental Center and the Craig County school-based health center. “Being the primary oral and medical health provider in the county, the Craig Prevention Planning Team (CPPT) saw the need to invite MHC to the table so to speak,” Michelle Ballar, the Chief Operations Officer at the Monroe Health Center, said.
Craig County Rural Health Care Corporation, CCRHCC, is an active advisory board that serves to meet healthcare needs in Craig County. MHC works closely with CCRHCC on these endeavors.
Recently, CCRHCC and MHC financially contributed to a project to survey youth behaviors in Craig County and explained that the survey was very telling.
“There are tremendous needs in Craig County for suicide prevention, substance abuse deterrent and education and MHC sees this in the clinics we operate, and the survey simply gave data to support what we know to be evident in the everyday practice,” Ballard shared. “MHC will be collaborating, as will all the CPPT members, to target these areas of need.”
Both sides agreed that the partnership and collaboration is a win for all the residents of Craig. “While the surveys reflect youth behavior, we know the adult population suffers from the same issues,” Ballard added. “It starts with our youth who become adults with the same problems if left untreated.”
“CPPT has been diligently working in Craig for years to raise awareness and create local resources for areas of need including but not limited to suicide prevention, substance abuse and youth behavior surveys,” Ballard said. “MHC is also working toward these same goals, so becoming part of the CPPT team allows us to work together and have a larger impact.”
“MHC knows that they bring needed knowledge and expertise to CPPT and also because of the community relationships being part of CPPT will help MHC make and strengthen,” Carlin said. “Ideally, both CPPT and MHC are better for MHC being part of the team, and I think both of us feel that will certainly be the case…. I know CPPT will be better off for sure!”
MHC asks a profound question, “Can we be proactive instead of reactive with our youth by offering focused education, activities and events to provide options and resources that are sorely lacking in Craig?” They also offered the answer. “Yes we can, if we work together it is doable, alone it is almost unachievable.”
All parties believe that “Prevention is the keyword”. All agree that it is vital too; prevent addiction, prevent depression, prevent suicide, and prevent bullying and in its place create hope, create acceptance and create options for the people of Craig. “This is an incredible community filled with incredible people; let’s give them the resources they deserve to be successful in all aspects of their lives,” Ballard shared.
MHC was recently awarded federal grant funding to expand behavioral health services, such as counseling and mental health therapy in Craig County. “This will allow MHC to hire additional staff to provide counseling in the clinic as well as the school environments,” Ballard said. “By January 2018, MHC hopes to have that staff hired and offering services that will support CPPT efforts.”
“Frankly, it is difficult to imagine CPPT fulfilling our various goals and objectives without the knowledge and expertise MHC has to offer in general and specifically to Craig County,” Carlin explained. “CPPT also hopes to support MHC activities in the community ultimately resulting in a healthier Craig County.”
Currently, they are just beginning the process of discovering where the relationship will go and setting goals for specific future projects. Carlin expressed that only after just the first meeting, the positive impact of having MHC as part of the team is clearly evident!
For more information, you may call Carlin at (540-982-1427 x145) or e-mail to JCarlin@BRBH.org.
“MHC is simply one piece of this diverse team to represent the Craig demographic,” Ballard shared. “We work toward the same mission; health, happy residents in Craig County.” They shared that they wholeheartedly believe that; “collective, focused, preventative work today will make a difference in the ‘tomorrows’ of Craig!”