The Yolo County Board of Supervisors will proclaim May as Mental Health Awareness Month during its May 24 meeting.
“The Yolo County Board of Supervisors has made a commitment to improving mental health,” Board Chair Angel Barajas emphasized. “We proclaim May as Mental Health Awareness Month to help promote awareness. We also want to recognize the Yolo County HHSA for their tireless effort and work on mental health programs, which has proved even more important during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Yolo County Health and Human Services Agency took a collaborative approach to meet the community’s mental needs by prioritizing program development to reach underserved populations, according to a county press release.
The county has been acknowledged by the National Association of Counties as a “stepping up innovator” county for expertise in using data to “drive decisions and better outcomes on the number of incarcerated people who have serious mental illnesses,” according to the release.
“We are incredibly grateful to our board of supervisors who in 2015 recognized the need to focus on mental health, substance use and our criminal justice system by passing a resolution to make Yolo County a Stepping Up County,” Ian Evans, adult and aging branch director for the county, said. “We are even more excited that on May 24, through a new resolution, our board will be formally accepting the NACo Stepping Up Innovator county designation making Yolo County one of only five counties throughout California to receive this designation.”
The county has used integrated data across justice, behavioral health and housing systems to better inform program design, evaluation and resource development “with the goal of reducing the 50% baseline rate of people entering the jail with behavioral health needs and staying an average of 16 days, as well as the subset of 25% bookings with a serious mental illness staying an average of 36 days,” according to the release.
“Mental Health Awareness Month gives us an opportunity to raise awareness of those living in our community with mental health and behavioral health symptoms and to help reduce the stigma that so many experience that can impede access to care,” Karleen Jakowski, interim mental health director, said. “By working together we can align our efforts, maximize our impact and realize a shared vision of ensuring that every resident of Yolo County can get the appropriate services and quality of care they need to support their resiliency, health and wellness.”