Ramsey County Community Updates

RCLLG's October newsletter. Read our other newsletters detailing how different communities in Ramsey County have been handling the Pandemic.

This newsletter includes:

1. Mental Health in Our Communities 10-9 Meeting Recap
2. You Count!
3. What’s Fun in Ramsey County?
"Mental Health in our Communities" Meeting Recap
Last Friday, October 9, we held our members meeting on the topic of “Mental Health in our Communities.” Five wonderful guests were featured:

  • Wendy Goodman, Executive Director at Ramsey County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative (RCCMHC)
  • Sophia Thompson, Interim Director of Adult Mental Health Support Services at Ramsey County
  • Kari Umanzor, Senior Health Educator with a focus on mental health, promotion, and racial equity at Ramsey County
  • Tara Jebens-Singh, CEO and President of Northeast Youth & Family Services (NYFS)
  • MarySue Hansen, Director of the Suburban Ramsey Family Collaborative
Meeting Recap:

RCLLG Members first provided updates on their community’s mental health concerns. Many of the communities are seeing higher mental health-related calls, including suicides and domestic issues. Isolation has created a mental health concern for senior citizens as well. Consequently, many communities have partnered with Northeast Youth Family Services to embed a social worker into their departments.

Virtual school models create anxiety for students and families. Many schools do not have therapists and mental health crises must be referred by counselors to an outside source. Difficulty lies in getting some students to sign into a virtual environment, especially for special needs students. Ultimately, supports at the state or federal level are needed for recovery in order to minimize these heartbreaking situations. 

Panelist Discussion

A fishbowl conversation from the five panelists followed. The need for mental health supports was evident during this discussion. Wendy at the Children’s Health Collaborative (CHC) explained that before COVID, approximately 20% of our youth have a mental health diagnosis. Pre-COVID, this means 25,000 kids in Ramsey County. Ramsey County also had the highest amount of youth attempting suicide. A recent survey went out and out of 124 respondents, 18% replied they were struggling but coping and 61% said they were struggling and needed help. Examples of efforts CHC has taken include their family service committee, their texting app, a virtual calm room, and calm care packages. Wendy’s dream is that there is one point of contact for the whole family, not a dozen+ people creating confusion for families who feel enough daily pressure

Sophia explained that once the Pandemic was taking place, Ramsey County still visited clients face-to-face (ensuring proper precautions), as assessing situations over the phone is simply difficult. Roles have shifted during the Pandemic. Some case managers are taking on unfamiliar roles in doing outreach with homeless persons, some case managers knocking on doors of the hotel rooms homeless are staying in to ensure they’re doing okay. Kari explained how a large focus is on bringing cultural awareness and healing to communities. For example, they have brought native or African American healers into these hotels.

Tara explained how staff had to adapt to telehealth models to maintain revenue. She also explained the challenge of ensuring a safe in-person models for clients not responding to telehealth models. Some of the supports NYFS provides are an intensive day treatment program for youth, a youth diversion program, a community advocate position, and more. MarySue discussed that her dream is that all the cities in Ramsey County collaborate closely on a strategic plan around health promotion messaging and community engagement intervention/supports. Marnita’s Table is a great model for this, for example, utilizing a digital intentional social interaction model.

Member “Step In” – Importance of Collective Impact

RCLLG members and panelists discussed how they could support one another. MarySue posed the question to RCLLG: “What single-thing can help your community best be supported – supports, money, legislation, etc?” It was also discussed how these mental health issues are complex and should not be siloed. Tara explained how “we have ownership in working collectively, at least a little bit, all of the time.” Moving forward, it’s important to hear from the actual families dealing with mental illness, in order to hear their specific stories.

Lisa Laliberte, RCLLG Vice President, closed the meeting, inviting members to join the Collective Action Workgroup that is focusing on tackling some of these mental health issues.

Thank you to those who provided their wisdom and a door for great opportunities!
You Count!
Voting Town Hall: On Oct 20 from 6-7 pm, the Ramsey County Elections Office and COVID-19 Racial Equity and Community Engagement Team is holding a virtual Voting Town Hall. For those with questions about registration, voting by mail, in-person absentee voting, and voting on Election Day, this is the perfect opportunity for you! More info here.
Have you responded? Today is the LAST day you can respond to the Census. Respond by 11:59 pm Hawaii Standard Time (4:59 am CST on October 16, 2020)

Ensure your family and friends have responded!
What’s Fun in Ramsey County?
Spooky-Good Fun: St. Paul Parks & Rec has some exciting (and safe) events this month. For example, various “Movies in the Park” are being hosted at different areas on different days. Live music is being offered as well! Other exciting in-person events include various “Trunk or Treat Drive-Thru's” and even a Monster Dash 5k, 10k, and half marathon on Halloween. *Note that many activities require advance registration. See all events here.
Harvest by the Lake Festival 2020: A specific event in St. Paul is the “Harvest By the Lake Festival" on Oct 23 – 25 at the Como Lakeside Pavilion. This includes fun for the whole family, including a pumpkin carving contest, hay bale maze, and seasonal fare including funnel fries, caramel apples, adult beverages, dessert, and more! Register here or click this link and scroll down to see the event flyer.
Nature Journaling Art Skills Workshop: Roseville Parks and Recreation invites you to an Arts Skill Workshop. The class will meet on Mondays, November 2, 9, and 16 at Harriet Alexander Nature Center, 2520 Dale St. N from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Learn how to better create illustrations of nature! Cost is $48. Cost for children age 8 to 18 is $7. Learn more and see other programs here.

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Contact us at RCLLG@mngts.org.

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Ramsey County League of Local Governments | www.mngts.org/rcllg