Imagine Pittsburg 2030 exposes need for increased access to health care

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PITTSBURG, Ks. — Through its Imagine Pittsburg 2030 events, the city is starting to realize they need better access to health care.

What exactly does that mean?

It’s two things, they would like to connect low income residents to health care with better sidewalks and trails.

And they are looking to provide more mental health services in the jail and hospital.

Pittsburg’s imagine 2030 event has helped the city identify issues in their community.

One of them–healthcare.

Especially when it comes to low income residents getting to and from their appointments.

Debra Anthony, Crawford County Health Deptartment, said, “Where our building is located we have a lot of issues with transportation, there’s no sidewalks in this area. I’ve seen them walking with their strollers along Atkinson where it’s a truck route and there’s a lot of traffic. And that’s just a safety issue.”

The North Medical District in Pittsburg serves many residents without a vehicle.

“People think about sidewalks and built environment for exercise, for physical fitness but in this area it’s more for access for medical services.”

And there is a need for more mental health and crisis services provided as well.

Michael Ehling, Executive Administrator, Crawford County Mental Health, said, “Areas around crisis intervention services touches the jail, touches emergency rooms. So, anyways that we can begin to expand and an embed services in any of those venues and better respond I think would be areas to work on and to address.”

And the hope is to get someone the help before they end up in jail.

“I mean all these touch points where mental health or addiction may present itself, we don’t just want to wait until their finally in jail but at all these touch points, that’s when we would like to develop a community response in order to provide mental health and addiction services.”

And as for emergency rooms, that shouldn’t be people’s only option for mental health help.

“A lot of addicted and mentally ill people, that’s their point of primary care, whether their drug seeking or whether they have a mental health issue that getting them there because they neglect their own mental health and it impacts medical health or physical health.”

The addition of sidewalks will be a project that costs roughly around $100,000-150,000.

And Crawford County Mental Health plans to join in on statewide initiatives to help both emergency personnel and law enforcement help in mental health crises.

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