Southeast Region Tennessee Department of Health representative Joyce Clem spoke to the group about the Bradley County Health Council and its activities.
Clem said she serves as the health council coordinator for the region and as a health educator.
The Bradley County Health Council recently chose mental health as its areas of focus, according to Clem.
“Health Council is a coalition of community organizations, schools and individuals that strive to develop an environment that supports a healthy life through education, prevention, advocacy and services,” Clem said.
Clem said the council’s new mental health focus was chosen after much discussion.
Many at the Interagency meeting agreed mental health issues are a growing concern in Bradley County, especially for those who may need mental health treatment but cannot afford it.
Clem said the Health Council also has a variety of committees and is involved in projects with which organization representatives can be involved. Current committees include teen and cancer committees. Events the council is involved in include Girl’s Talk, Ram Clinic and assisting with the Boys & Girls Club for its teen conference.
The health educator also presented information from a health survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin. The survey is conducted by calling people in the area and asking them a series of health-related questions.
“I thought this would be interesting for those of you who do not normally get to see this type of data,” Clem said.
Clem also highlighted information from the survey she thought would be interesting to those present. According to the survey, Bradley County has one primary care physician per 1,611 people. The statistics also state Bradley County has one mental health provider for every 19,329 people. The average in Tennessee is 10,332:1. Of those surveyed, 19 percent said they had limited access to healthy foods.
The information highlights many areas of local health that would be of interest to local agencies. The information is updated on a yearly basis, and could be used by each agency present, Clem said.
Other information gathered included information on children, health factors, clinical care and physical environment.
Clem said one negative thing about the survey is that it only used landline phones, and some feels this does not give an accurate health picture of Bradley County.