Local experts meet to discuss biggest health issues in southwestern IN

Local experts meet to discuss biggest health issues in southwestern IN

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) -Community health leaders came together on Wednesday to reveal the biggest health issues affecting our communities.

“To help the community acknowledge, realize there is a problem,” Dr. William Wooten, the Chairman of Mayor’s Substance Abuse Task Force said.

Experts from local hospitals, social programs, mental health and substance abuse specialists came together to pinpoint the health issues affecting the people of southwestern Indiana.

[Full report: Community Health Needs Assessment Vanderburgh County, Indiana 2019]

Dr. Wooten said the 2019 community health needs assessment shows substance abuse as a priority, both prevention and helping those addicted.

“We want to promote effective prevention strategies and programs and help people access treatment and recovery options,” said Dr. Wooten.

The assessment also pointed out mental health as another priority.

“You never know when a crisis or a concern may show up in someone’s life or in the lives of someone, that you know and love," Emily Reidford, the Executive Director of Mental Health America, said. "So it’s important for everybody to be aware of those signs and symptoms and also the resources where they can go to seek help.”

The survey shows access to care and food insecurity are also issues that need to be tackled.

“What’s exciting about it is we’re looking at creative solutions," Program and Community Engagement Officer for Welborn Baptist Foundation Andrea Hays said. "Sure we do need more grocery stores that can help with that, but it’s also looking at pop up produce stands, other farmers markets, and access points for even our youth.”

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