What residents need

Lewis County Community Services director Patricia Fralick has harnassed technology through SurveyMonkey to create an online questionnaire focused on getting the thoughts and experiences of county residents and users of the county’s mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services to help inform the 2021 service plan. The anonymous survey can be taken at www.surveymonkey.com/r/YFPCF7C or by contacting a school district in the county or service provider before June 30. Survey screen shot

Accessing beneficial resources is critical for people with problems pertaining to substance abuse, mental health and developmental disabilities issues.

In each of the state’s counties, the Community Services department is responsible for evaluating the needs of these individuals. It also coordinates how these needs are met by local mental hygiene agencies.

Patricia Fralick, director of Community Services for Lewis County, has devised an online questionnaire to solicit input on what people need. She said this will help her update the county’s annual local service plan. For the second consecutive year, she has relied on the SurveyMonkey website to receive feedback.

“I got my community input other ways before, but I didn’t think it was enough,” Ms. Fralick said in a story published Wednesday by the Watertown Daily Times. “So last year we tried SurveyMonkey for the community, and I want to say last year we got 30 or 40 replies.”

Ms. Fralick hopes to have even more surveys returned this year.

“This year, with access to the paid version of SurveyMonkey, Ms. Fralick and her team have expanded the questionnaire from 10 to 15 questions and will be able to use data analysis tools through the software. Agencies on both local and state levels provide feedback that helps to inform the questionnaire’s content, tone, and focus, she said,” according to the Times article. “In order to ensure people without internet access can have their voices heard, the survey was also sent to school districts and various agencies with the request to share the survey with their ‘consumers.’”

Public health professionals are particularly concerned with how mental hygiene issues have been affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. The survey will help Community Services staff members assess how programs could be better tailored to clients to address problems resulting from this health care crisis.

One thing Ms. Fralick and her team learned from last year’s questionnaire is that the social stigma of seeking help with mental health problems remains strong. Increased participation in the survey among residents will give them a better picture of how much these services are needed, which may reduce this stigma.

We commend the Lewis County Community Services for developing this survey and urge residents as possible to take part in it. This information will guide staffers in how they develop the programs of greatest need in local communities.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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