Napa Valley, CA: The Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) today announced its investment of $772,000 in community services to help three populations: those at risk or affected by substance abuse, mental illness, and health issues related to aging. This is the fourth category of giving from the proceeds of the 2012 Auction Napa Valley fundraiser, and is part of its $7 million commitment to two strategic priorities: community health and children's education.
"While they are not necessarily directly related, these three populations have an increased risk of isolation preventing them from seeking help, or from being aware of the acuity of their needs," said NVV Executive Director Linda Reiff. "The NVV is investing in local programs that focus on reaching out to these populations with prevention resources and treatment; increasing community awareness of these issues and the resources available; and collaborating with other organizations to build a safety net to help some of the most vulnerable in our community."
Six organizations received funding to expand their programs and outreach: Aldea Children & Family Services; Area Agency on Aging; Family Service of Napa Valley; Gunilda Rianda Senior Center; Napa Valley Hospice & Adult Day Services; and Wolfe Center.
THE HEALTH ISSUE THAT'S BECOME A NATIONAL CONCERN
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 26% of the U.S. adult population has a mental disorder at any given time, and one in five children either currently has or at some time in his or her life will have a serious mental disorder. But less than half of those with mental health issues receive treatment. The 2010 Napa County Community Health Needs Assessment, produced by the Napa County Collaborative of Health Organizations and Funders, highlighted mental and emotional health as a top priority.
"Mental health--especially that of youth, who need guidance to get treatment--is a public health issue," said Mark Bontrager, executive director of Aldea Children and Family Services. "Thousands of teenagers and young adults in our region are struggling with mental health problems. Unfortunately, many people don't know how to recognize these problems, or don't know where to go for help."
Decreasing the stigma related to mental health, training the community on how to identify problems and building awareness of services available provides the most success. In 2010, Aldea implemented a Mental Health First Aid program, and so far has trained more than 1,000 local teachers, first responders, and residents on how to identify and assess mental health issues, and how to provide low-level intervention and referrals when needed.
Family Service of Napa Valley offers therapeutic services to parents with mental health issues so they may become more emotionally balanced and better equipped to respond to the needs of their children--which can help break the cycle of a parent's problems leading to the development of mental and physical problems in their children.
STEMMING THE RISING TIDE OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE
The number of teenagers with substance abuse problems has been on the rise for the past five years. Approximately 27% of Napa County's 11th graders said they used marijuana in the previous 30 days, compared with the state average of 19%, according to a 2009 California Healthy Kids survey.
In Napa County, the Wolfe Center is the only substance-abuse program focused on adolescents and their families. It offers intensive intervention services, prevention education in English and Spanish for parents both at the Wolfe Center and at family resource centers from American Canyon to Calistoga, as well as prevention services to seven schools in Napa County.
Another successful program is Project SUCCESS, offered to ninth graders at Vintage High School. This screening program identifies high-risk activity in students and/or families. If a school official identifies a drug or alcohol risk, that student enters a prevention or treatment service. In a comparison group, adolescents participating in Project SUCCESS showed a 37% overall decrease in substance use compared to adolescents who did not participate. Wolfe Center's goal is to expand this to an additional high school this year and ultimately to all middle and high schools in Napa County since statistics show that early prevention services are most effective.
"The good news is that prevention and treatment work," said Mark Reisman, Wolfe Center clinical director. "And helping our community's young adults to free themselves from--or better yet, avoid--the grip of addiction relates directly to their becoming productive adults and improves quality of life within the community."
MEETING THE NEEDS OF AN AGING--AND GROWING--POPULATION
Fifteen percent of Napa County residents--21,000--are 65 or older, compared to just 10% across the state of California, and that number is expected to grow another 7,500 in Napa County by 2020. Two critical issues the aging Napa County population faces are the increased risk of falling and Alzheimer's disease. But early intervention and awareness of accessible services can help reduce the risk or impact of both, thereby reducing hospitalizations and other costs, and maintaining the health and well-being of seniors, their families and the community.
Serious injuries from falls--hip and other fractures, head, neck and back injuries--require significant care, and many sufferers do not fully recover. In 2011, more than 2,100 Napa County adults age 50 and older were treated in an emergency department or hospitalized due to a fall. The average cost of hospitalization for fall related injuries among Napa County residents age 60 and older runs in excess of $40,000.
Unfortunately, many older adults are in denial, and are embarrassed or reluctant to confide in others after they fall. But falls are preventable, and often require only low-cost solutions; early detection of risks is key. "Screening and in-home assessments are effective at identifying risks," states Leanne Martinsen, executive director for the Area Agency on Aging serving Napa and Solano, "and once identified, most can be addressed with simple and inexpensive remedies. By investing a few dollars in prevention, we can reduce the need for thousands spent on treatment, and allow older adults to remain in their own homes and engaged in the community."
The number of Napa County residents suffering from Alzheimer's is expected to double in the next 20 years. Not only are those with Alzheimer's and their families impacted by this disease, but businesses as well. Because many caregivers often have to miss work, reduce work hours, or change jobs to care for a spouse or family member, California's employers lose an estimated $1.4 billion in productivity annually from full-time employed caregivers alone.
But adult day services can help, explains Celine Regalia, program director, Adult Day Services. "This program of health, social and rehabilitation services promotes the well-being, dignity and self-esteem of individuals. It maximizes independence, improves management of chronic symptoms, can prevent hospitalization and/or premature nursing home placement, and provides support and relief to caregivers."
This is the fourth of six overall categories of funding being made from proceeds from the Napa Valley Vintner's Auction Napa Valley 2012 fundraiser. For more information, visit www.auctionnapavalley.org.
View list of six beneficiaries