Some of the young people who most need mental health services have been conditioned to avoid them.
A new youth-led initiative hopes to use peer outreach to overcome that.
This new collaboration, says VOICES Director Amber Twitchell, is especially timely, as the need for these services continues to mount.
VOICES—an acronym for the organization’s founding name “Voice Our Independent Choices for Emancipation Support” –is more than 10 years old now. In that time it has welcomed and served hundreds of transition youth, and Twitchell says most of them have stayed in touch.
Even before the latest series of cold and wet winter storms raked the North Bay, some 1000 homeless people were living outdoors in the elements across Sonoma County.
And service providers have been able to offer little more to help them as the weather worsened.
Highway 101 overpasses near downtown Santa Rosa. That has upset nearby homeowners and residents, which is understandable, says Heidi Prottras, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Task Force for the Homeless. But the homeless there have no other options.
A call to radically rethink how homeless services are structured and provided locally found a generally receptive audience in Santa Rosa this week.
Now the challenge is to implement those ideas.
The Homeless Solutions Summit was well attended by a full spectrum of people concerned about homelessness in Sonoma County. Jennielynn Holmes of Catholic Charities says she thinks the event will mobilize changes.
Homeless Action organizer Adrienne Lauby was most encouraged by presenter Iain De Jong’s call for a one-to-one approach to providing homeless services, without preconditions.
According to a recent study, Latinos trail other segments of the California population in understanding mental illnesses and how they can be treated.
But the gap closes as they become acculturated.
Naranjo’s study interviewed 100 subjects, statewide, during the summer of 2014. She explains that her survey asked a series of questions to gauge each person’s awareness and understanding of mental illnesses and their symptoms and treatments.
For a list of mental health services offered by the Santa Rosa Community Health Centers, click here.