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Calaveras Public Health Releases Community Health Assessment

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Calaveras County, CA – Defined as a comprehensive examination of health needs and priorities within Calaveras County communities, public health has released its 2023 health assessment.

The assessment, which started in August 2022, included these three phases: key informant interviews, focus group discussions, and a community-wide survey. As reported here last year, Calaveras County Public Health  (CCPH) reached out to residents for their feedback on the future of health and healthcare in the county through five focus group sessions during July and a survey. Together, they explored various aspects of community health, focusing on critical areas such as access and affordability, mental health, health and wellbeing, health behaviors, and substance use.

“By engaging with key stakeholders, community members, and experts, the assessment aimed to gather diverse perspectives and insights to inform strategic health initiatives and resource allocation,” advised county health officials, adding, “The findings of the 2023 Calaveras Community Health Assessment shed light on several key priorities and challenges faced by our community.”

The department provided these findings:

  • Access and Affordability: 65% reported challenges accessing needed healthcare. Key barriers are affordability, availability, and transportation, with many driving out of the county or unable to access care at all.
  • Mental Health: Mental health conditions were the most commonly reported conditions. Provider shortages and cost of care were identified as the main barriers to accessing care. Youth reported that drugs, alcohol, anxiety, and depression were primary mental health concerns.
  • Health and Wellbeing: A majority of respondents rated their personal health and well-being as good to excellent. However, chronic disease, mental health issues, unhealthy behaviors, and barriers to care are the top personal health concerns.
  • Health Behaviors: While a majority have positive diet and exercise behaviors, key areas for improvement include access to nutritious food, obesity rates, and physical activity levels. Binge drinking, misusing prescriptions, and regular tobacco use were commonly reported substance use issues.
  • Substance Use: Community members expressed a need for youth mental and behavioral health services, particularly for youth in the county who have experienced drug or alcohol-related difficulties in their family, abuse, homelessness, food insecurity, or neglect.

The full 2023 Calaveras Community Health Assessment report is available for review by clicking here.