NEVADA, Mo. — A Southwest Missouri non-profit is tackling both physical and mental health issues.

Why is healthy Nevada choosing to focus on rural health?

Innovators of the organization saw a need to classify issues within the town, and work with partnering groups to address them.

Carol Branham, Healthy Nevada Board President, said, “The goal was to bring the community together partners, networking, and really break down silos, so we can really address the issues of health around our community.”

Healthy Nevada started in 2012 as a non-profit seeking to change the physical and mental health issues that residents faced in the area.

“We were a pilot program to do some research and things on health and to look to see if a small, rural community could look at different programming and ways and educational awareness to really change individuals lives.

Alyson Harder, Healthy Nevada Lead Strategist, said, “We started really focusing on the concept of what are called physical health days and having good physical health days or poor physical health days, reducing, and quality mental health days, which are days where you feel better more days than you don’t. We’re starting to measure obesity levels. We were starting to review and look at the concept of Diabetes and the response of Diabetes.”

With these measures, the Healthy Nevada Team was able to identify health needs, economic factors, and how to appropriately address these issues through community development.

By the use of partners, such as, the MU Extension, Vernon County Health Department, Nevada R-5 School District, and the Nevada Regional Medical Center, the non-profit can fix issues that Nevada residents are facing.

A goal of the organization is to gather research on what programs work in rural communities, such as Nevada, and be able to share those resources to other rural areas.

One of the organization’s biggest accomplishments so far is a $100,000 trail that was paid for by donations from the community.

“Folks working together to make that community trail, which is right behind the Nevada Middle School. It came to life and it’s fantastic because we knew that our kids need to walk during school, before school, after school. We knew that our community needed to have access to something like that. It’s paved. It’s ADA accessible.”

Healthy Nevada will be rolling out a community health needs assessment next week.

Vernon County residents will receive an email with a 16 question survey.

Results from this survey will address things in the community that need to be worked on.

A town hall will be held April 9th at the Healthy Nevada Innovation Center to discuss the health issues residents face and how Healthy Nevada can implement programs to fix them.