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Dear Foundation Friends,
January turned out to be health awareness month for me. I worked from home for several weeks, healing from COVID-19. I feel fortunate that I had a mild ​case, but a persistent cough kept me on video calls. It’s good to be back in the office.

How are you feeling? We have been thinking about you. The Community Foundation has been focused on behavioral health, following up on the action items recommended from last year’s community assessment. I am pleased to let you know that we are making progress. Here are the major upcoming action steps.

  • Revise and enhance the steering committee. We realized that there were community voices missing from the group of people who are guiding behavioral health. We are enhancing the committee and assuring that everyone is up to speed. This process will be completed by the end of February. 
  • Understand the gaps. Focus groups in March and April will help the committee better understand the experiences of Latinx, LGBTQIA+, and adolescents. The survey results showed that these groups need improved access to behavioral health resources. By May, this information will define opportunities to help put actions in place. 
  • Support through coordination. The steering committee can’t make change happen on their own. Each committee member has a full-time job. So, during March and April, the committee will refine and establish guidelines on how best to support the model (a group or a person) to coordinate and act as liaison across all organizations working in behavioral health.
  • Prioritize next steps and action.  In the next few months there will be a focus around how to move the work forward in prevention, treatment, and crisis. For example, there is no landing spot for someone experiencing a mental crisis, so they often end up in an emergency room or a police station. Our community has many great ideas about how to provide better crisis management and treatment. A crisis working group will examine potential situations, gaps, and solutions and, by May, will prioritize how we make these changes happen.

Personally, I wish things could move more swiftly on this front, that we could provide a perfect system for those experiencing isolation, depression, anxiety, addiction, fear. Many times in the last year, I have been reminded that process is progress. I hope you will stay tuned for new processes in the coming months. They mean we are on our way to providing fresh resources for our whole community.

Stay warm and healthy,

Laurie Andrews
President, Community Foundation of Jackson Hole

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