Let’s Talk, Lancaster, a coalition of over 28 collective impact community partners dedicated to improving mental health and well-being in Lancaster County, has been hard at work for two years, accomplishing much and planning even more for the future.
The coalition includes Lancaster General Health and has a vision of a vibrant Lancaster that promotes and supports an environment where people live mentally healthy lives.
Last fall, the group signed on as a regional partner to the national Campaign to Change Direction, which has gained public awareness through well-known advocates such as Prince Harry of Wales and actor Richard Gere. As a result, more than 650 Lancaster County residents have taken the pledge to know the “5 Signs of Emotional Suffering”: personality change, agitation, withdrawal, poor self-care, and hopelessness.
The coalition's other contributions include improving access to care by enrolling over 71 participants in the Project Access Lancaster County co-pay assistance program. The coalition has also worked collectively to improve the Pennsylvania 211 East emergency help line in an effort to increase calls for mental health services, and ultimately increase access to care. This initiative has resulted in an increase in calls from 384 to 459 in 2016.
In the last year alone, Let’s Talk, Lancaster trained 113 medical providers on how to use the PHQ-9, a depression screening tool and has trained over 867 people on how to use Mental Health First Aid in the case of a mental health crisis.
In addition, coalition members have worked to standardize screenings for depression, make it easier to get referrals from primary care to behavioral health care, and improve the communication between providers to enhance patient care.
Future goals of Let’s Talk, Lancaster include:
Increase the promotion of mental health resources in Lancaster County
Improve coordination of care between medical and behavioral health providers
Implement strategies that improve services between mental health and substance misuse in an effort to better care for patients with dual diagnoses
Improve coordination between treatment and recovery providers
To learn more or to get involved with the Let’s Talk, Lancaster Coalition, visit our website at www.letstalklancaster.org or call 717-544-3811. You can also find us on social media: Facebook: @ltlancastercounty; Twitter: @letstalklanc; Instagram: @letstalklancaster