Tours of the Hill Country Care Center were given to those interested in the community. Shasta County Board of Supervisors, county officials, members in the mental health field, Assemblyman Brian Dahle’s district director and the public attended the open house on Tuesday.
Hill Country was granted a $4 million contract by the Board of Supervisors in February to provide mental health services 365 days a year on an appointment or walk-in basis. The Center is open from 2-11 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekends and holidays.
When planning the Center’s schedule, the goal was to try to anticipate when people would need it, explained Lynn Dorroh, Hill Country’s chief executive officer in Round Mountain. She said the Center, with its 15 employees, provides grief counseling, crisis counseling, wellness and recovery support, urgent evaluation and intervention, and suicide prevention, among others.
“Shasta County has 40 suicides a year on average, which is two times the state average,” explained Marc Dadigan, community education specialist with Shasta County Health and Human Services. The idea that suicide is a selfish act is not accurate, he said. These people are in a lot of pain and often are afraid to disclose their suffering because of the stigma associated with mental health issues, Dadigan said, adding, there are signs people contemplating suicide exhibit and family member and friends can be taught to recognize these signs. The Center can help with this, he said.
For every suicide there are at least six people effected by that death and they experience a myriad of emotions from guilt to isolation to stigmatization, and they would benefit from counseling offered at the Center, he said.
While it’s hard to establish exactly how many people living on the streets have mental health illness, it’s not hard to guess that depression is a common concern among this population. One estimate is that 26 percent of this population has a severe mental illness. Dadigan said, “In general one in five people have a mental health challenge.” He added, “One in four people are diagnosed with a mental health concern, that’s 25 percent of the population.” Dadigan said, it’s not always easy to discern who has mental health issues.
One of the Care Center’s main goals is to help people who would otherwise go to the emergency room for treatment, Dadigan said. This will result in lower medical costs, he added.
The Care Center is located on the corner of California and Gold streets in Redding. The money to operate the Center comes from the California Mental Health Services Act, Dorroh said. Also housed in the Care Center is the National Alliance on Mental Illness that provides support groups for family members of those being seen for mental health concerns, she said.
The Care Center’s telephone number is 530-691-4446. The Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 800-273-8255.
Loretta Carrico Russell is a long-time local journalist. Her husband is the chair of the Hill Country Health and Wellness Clinic in Round Mountain.