Boulder County Public Health sees mental health, housing as priorities

Boulder County Public Health is inviting people to a presentation and discussion of how mental-health issues and housing problems are having unhealthy impacts on many county residents.

Officials from the county health agency said a comprehensive community health assessment had already identified mental health and housing as the two issues impacting Boulder County residents‘ health the most.

During a 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 15 open house at Boulder County‘s St. Vrain Community Hub, 515 Coffman St., Longmont, county residents can learn how officials think those issues are already having an impact on people‘s health, can share their own ideas about possible solutions.

People attending the open house and can also vote on which of the two issues should be the top focus for Boulder County Public Health and its community partners for the next five years.

People unable to attend the meeting can get more details — and fill in an online survey — at .

“Our responsibility is to ensure that everyone in Boulder County has the opportunity to live a healthy life,” Boulder County Public Health executive director Jeff Zayach said in a statement.

“We invite all residents to cast their vote for the issue they feel most impacts their health,” Zayach said.

According to Boulder County Public Health‘s , residents told county officials during in a series of community conservations earlier this year that “to live a healthy life, they need affordable, healthy housing.”

The agency cited one study that reported that 20 percent of Boulder County‘s households experience overcrowded housing, high housing costs or housing with no kitchen or plumbing facilities.

Some ways Boulder County Public Health could become involved in efforts to improve healthy-housing opportunities, its Healthy Boulder County website suggests, would be conducting housing health assessments, partnering with housing developers and advocating for healthy=housing policies.

Residents also told county health officials during those community conversations that “to live a healthy life, they need mental wellness.”

The health agency said scientific evidence has shown that poor mental health can impact people‘s physical health and has been associated with many chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Boulder County Public Health said on its Healthy Boulder County website that it already has considerable knowledge about mental health issues and has worked with other agencies and organizations‘ experts to promote and improve mental health in the county “particularly for young children, families and youth.”

“Everybody‘s welcome to attend the Nov. 15 open house,” and “this is truly an opportunity for people to have a voice” in helping the health agency address mental-health and health-housing issues, said Boulder County Public Health spokeswoman Chana Goussetis.