Improving brain health in Clayton County
Like many people in rural areas, Clayton County residents face barriers to addressing their brain health needs. Extended wait times, lack of awareness of resources, and long distances for services are among the challenges residents say they experience.
To tackle this pressing issue, the Clayton County Foundation for the Future is partnering with Seva Health: Center for Wellbeing, helping build a strong network of brain health services for area residents. The first steps: Conducting a countywide brain health survey, convening a new Clayton County brain health coalition, and awarding a grant to Seva to provide services.
“Our board recognized improving brain health for all ages in our communities as a priority,” says Sadewasser. “We turned to Jessica Goltz, president and founder of Seva Health, to help us bring together other community leaders and start working toward solutions. The Foundation’s grant to Seva is a show of support for the critical work she’s doing both in partnership with us and in her business.”
Goltz led efforts to create a countywide brain health survey, with assistance from Foundation Coordinator Emily Sadewasser and members of the Foundation board in distributing the survey. Results showed that:
- The biggest barrier to brain health care is a lack of local resources beyond the clinical setting.
- Community members experience long wait times and/or travel distances to see a therapist.
- People lack information about how to make changes in their own self-care, access existing resources, and know what mental health services are covered by insurance
The results of the survey directed the next steps. The Foundation and Seva convened 40 educators, law enforcement, brain health practitioners, health care providers and MFL MarMac students to review the results, which led to the formation of a new coalition. The group is composed of three committees working on:
- Access to resources: Help identify gaps in existing resource lists and support updates to the Clayton County Resource Guide's brain health resource section to serve as a comprehensive brain health resource that can be distributed to community members and partners.
- Education: Host or encourage partners to host three evidence-based education sessions on a variety of health topics to improve quality of life and support brain health.
- Awareness: Create a campaign to raise awareness of brain health resources and promote thoughtful and open discussion around brain health throughout the county.
“Forming a mental health coalition was a goal of ours, and by working with the Foundation, we were able to make this goal a reality. We are beyond grateful for the support from the Foundation and look forward to continuing to collaborate,” says Goltz.
Through Seva Health, individuals have the opportunity to develop coping skills, practice mind-body regulation, and build resilience through stress management techniques. Seva works in schools, through community education classes as well as one-on-one coaching, and hosted a summer youth program.
“At Seva Health, we believe that we can no longer approach mental health the same way we always have and expect different results,” says Goltz. “Survey data indicates individuals need extra support beyond the walls of the clinical setting and utilizing practices that are proven to support brain health. That is where Seva Health comes into play. By providing wrap-around services and support between clinical appointments, we can impact communities for years to come.”
The Foundation is building on the brain health work of its parent foundation, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque. Bringing local experts to a shared table to find solutions to major community challenges is a role the Foundation strives to fill. “Partnering with Jessica has helped us build new relationships and bring together a network of people who are passionate about the future of rural Iowa, committed to resolving the challenges that impact our daily lives and excited to raise awareness about community assets,” says Foundation board member Amanda Meyer.
The Foundation can help you make an impact on urgent needs in your community. Contact Emily Sadewasser at email@example.com or visit dbqfoundation.org/ccff to learn more.