IMPACT Meeting Focuses on Health Care, Unemployment

May 5, 2014

The IMPACT Organization held its largest public meeting of the year at John Paul Jones Arena on Monday evening.

Hundreds of community members from nearly 30 congregations got together to discuss mental health and unemployment in the region.

The group urged local leaders to take action on the two issues, which they have been researching for months.

IMPACT members report nearly 400 students in local public schools have seriously considered suicide. They also discovered the average wait time to see a psychiatrist at Region Ten is about three months. Attendees discussed ways to reduce that wait time for "kids in crisis" and expand Region Ten's hours of child psychiatry.

Currently, Region Ten offers 15 hours of child psychiatry each week for all of Nelson, Albemarle, Green, Fluvanna and Louisa counties. IMPACT recommends securing a full-time child psychiatrist.

The group also focused on the more than 3,000 unemployed young adults in greater Charlottesville, saying their unemployment rate is three times higher than any other age group.

IMPACT recommends focusing on the local health care industry when it comes to employment. The group says health care is a "massive growing industry" in the area, and health care employers are in need of entry- and mid-level employees that are trained.

IMPACT's recommendation is developing a "first-rung collaborative," which would be a partnership between workforce agencies, educational institutions and health care providers in the area.

The group is also asking UVa. Medical Center to committing $90,000 to create and fund a pilot program that would waive tuition for 30 students to get the training they need for entry-level positions in the medical field.

To learn more about IMPACT, click HERE.

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