ASPEN (Access to Services Providing Essential Needs) is a robust virtual tool that includes a resource database for multiple community resources, unique behavioral health tools and virtual resources. These tools were developed to provide improved awareness of resources and information.
A traumatic event resembles a pebble thrown into a pond; the waves ripple outward impacting all those in its wake. Like the ripples in a pond, post-traumatic stress reactions are subsequent ripples which may last long after a pebble has sunk below the surface.
JCHD has a long-term view on how public health and appropriate connection to resources can lead to better mental health, decreased substance use and improved holistic health. Addressing disparities are vital to leading our community into the future of public health. In order to help manage the increasing need for these vital mental health services, the Accessing Services Providing Essential Needs (ASPEN) virtual platform was conceived by JCHD and a network of partners to help bridge this gap within the community.
History of ASPEN
Behavioral health and substance use continue to rise in Jefferson County and surrounding regions. For too long, Jefferson County has been found in the uppermost quartile of opioid misuse ER visits and deaths, partially as a result of this mental health epidemic. In 2015 through meetings with school staff, public safety officers, and health care professionals, it became evident that there is not a current system that provides equitable access to resources, including behavioral health needs. If these needs are not managed, individuals are at significantly higher risk for stress, anxiety, depression, poor sleep, coping through substance misuse, and suicide ideations or attempts. These indicators likely will not cease unless addressed and can become more difficult to manage and cause severe harm.