A new study released Friday found access to health care services is the top health need in Northeast Florida.
The Community Health Needs Assessment is conducted every three years by Jacksonville Nonprofit Hospital Partnership, also known as The Partnership.
The study looked at Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns counties.
Focus groups, interviews and surveys were used to gather the information.
Behavioral health was the second biggest concern among First Coast area communities. Mental health continues to be one of the biggest issues in Jacksonville.
One of the mechanisms the nonprofits are using help improve the area’s overall behavioral health is Mental Health First Aid. It’s a one day program that helps friends and families with concerns or questions regarding mental health.
“There remains a significant stigma to mental health and substance abuse and often the stigma itself prevents individuals from accessing the care that they need, when they need it,” said Ascension Florida President and CEO Tom VanOsdol.
Poverty, obesity and a lack of physical activity are among other concerns brought up by those surveyed.
A lack of physical activity isn’t simply defined by not going to the gym. Some communities are in areas where people do not feel safe walking or running outside.
All the nonprofit hospitals involved in the assessment plan to create new strategies that will help improve the health of the Northeast Florida community.
The consortium of hospitals that make up The Partnership are: Ascension St. Vincent’s, Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation, Mayo Clinic, UF Health and Wolfson Children’s Hospital
Madison Roberts can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (904)358-6317.