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Winneshiek Medical Center's community health needs survey finds mental health issues are considered the most important problems to address

Posted: Sun, Jun 9, 2019 12:30 PM

What does the Decorah area consider the number one health issue needing to be addressed?  The latest Community Health Needs Assessment points to "mental health problems" as being mentioned by 77.81 percent of all people surveyed.

Nearly tying that answer was "illegal drug use/abuse," which was mentioned by 77.46 percent of those surveyed. 

The report says public input sessions held earlier in Decorah, Ossian and Mabel all spoke about the prevalence of mental health care needs, specifically in the school-age and college-age populations.

The assessment is designed to gather information on unmet health needs in the area. With this data, communities can map out a course for health improvement by creating strategies to make positive and sustainable changes in their communities. 

Winneshiek Medical Center's process included an online survey and community leader listening sessions, which garnered the input of over 400 people. 

Health Problems to Address:
--Mental Health: Problems, Access to services, Availability of local mental health providers
--Safe Behaviors: Illegal drug use/abuse/distribution, alcohol abuse, bullying, screen time (excessive use), parenting skills
--Health Care Access: High out-of-pocket costs, appointment availability to primary care
--Health Conditions/Prevention: Mental Health, Cancers, Obesity, Aging Problems (e.g. arthritis, hearing, vision loss, etc.), immunizations against communicable diseases
Health Behaviors to Improve
--Physical Activity: Increase physical activity, offer affordable opportunities/programs/facility to exercise, more time and willpower to maintain health habit
--Healthy Eating: Eat more fruits and vegetables, Drink more water
--Decrease Stress

The full report and Winneshiek Medical Center's Health Improvement Plan can be found on