Rural areas get aid from DHHS

Creedmoor, N.C.

Sarah Mansur
Henderson Daily Dispatch
June 18, 2014

As the national economy recovers from the recession, government agencies - like the state Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture in North Carolina - are highlighting resources and services to rural regions significantly affected by the economic downturn.

Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Aldona Wos and her staff held a question-and-answer session at the state's first youth mental health first aid training event for teenagers ages 16 to 18 years old at Vance-Granville Community College's southern campus Wednesday, sponsored by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions.

The Mental Health First Aid program is a key component of the state's Crisis Solution Initiative, which aims to improve crisis prevention services and reduce emergency department use and wait times for psychiatric and addiction treatment placement.

"It is critical," Wos said. "One of the reasons is that we really have a shortage of health care professionals. Programs such as this are critical because sometimes it's that first interaction with a person that needs someone to extend their hand or someone to just offer assistance or make sure they are okay."

Vance and Granville counties are also part of a new pilot rollout program called Crossroads that turns the paper-based Women, Infants and Children program system in to an electronic one.

North Carolina was selected by the federal government to be the lead state of a four state consortium, according to Kirsti Clifford, a health and human services department press assistant.

Wos said women, especially those who have just given birth, need ways to get access to knowledge, care and people they can rely on.

"That is their safety net, in a way, if they don't know who to speak to or do something," she said. "In the rural areas, because of geography, that is critical."