Tri-County Health Network Offers Support This Holiday Season | News
With the holidays approaching, Tri-County Health Network (TCHN) has several programs to help people take care of themselves during this busy season.
Mental health is one of the most important initiatives for Corinne Cavender, TCHN’s behavioral health program manager. Especially during the holidays, it is common to have mental health problems.
“It’s super normal to feel down during the holidays, and I really encourage everyone to give themselves a little grace,” Cavender told Planet. “Whether it’s the fear around the pandemic and other illnesses, the memories of losing a loved one, family struggles, etc., the holidays are not always happy and carefree times for everyone.”
Cavender recommends making time for intentional self-care and having a plan to help manage stress or sadness when these feelings arise in a given situation.
“We all deserve a little bit of peace, whatever it is, especially around the holidays,” Cavender added.
To help with mental health, TCHN has been developing its safeTALK mental health first aid and suicide alert programs to empower community members in San Miguel and Delta counties to recognize and respond when someone needs help.
“Our behavioral health team strongly believes that the burden on our behavioral health physicians can be reduced if we as a community have a higher level of mental health education,” Cavender said.
TCHN is also focusing more on its San Miguel and Ouray chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and offers more family support groups.
On the physical illness side, the winter season brings an increase in flu and COVID-19 cases. Many in the region are still not up to date on their vaccinations. To help, there are mobile vaccination clinics during the holiday season. TCHN’s VAX Outreach Team will continue to partner with the Colorado Department of Public Health’s mobile vaccination bus in Delta and Montrose counties.
They operate weekly vaccination clinics that provide COVID-19 resources to the community. There are staff members to talk to anyone who has questions or concerns about immunizations. Vaccines are free. The River Valley Montrose Clinic will also host an immunization clinic on December 28 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Looking forward to more long-term health solutions, TCHN is helping locals get health insurance, especially undocumented people.
For this, OmniSalud is a qualified health insurance program for undocumented Coloradans. There are income-qualified subsidies, offering coverage starting at a $0 monthly premium for people below 150 percent of the federal poverty level, who qualify as earning less than $20,385 a year, or $27,465 for a home of two
Despite the benefits of this health insurance program, many may hesitate to apply for fear that it may affect their rights in the future or disqualify a visa application.
“Living as an undocumented immigrant, you may be hesitant to share your information for fear that it could be shared with federal agencies,” Mara Albañil-Rangel, TCHN policy and advocacy manager, told Planet. “That’s why our bilingual TCHNetwork staff helped educate our immigrant community about the privacy of the information collected and addressed public charge concerns.”
OmniSalud’s enrollment process is completely private, so it cannot be shared with federal agencies or immigration authorities. When applying for the program, no one is asked about their immigration status and OmniSalud is not considered a public charge determination.
Colorado designated 10,000 grants for undocumented Coloradans. By December 6, 100 percent of the places were filled. TCHN’s bilingual team helped 173 people enroll in OmniSalud with the subsidy.
“The outreach and education that the TCHNetwork team has been doing helps better reach and inform our immigrant community who may be hesitant to access programs like OmniSalud,” said Albañil-Rangel.
TCHN will also bring the Skippy program, which offers dental health services to students, to the Montrose School District for the first time in five years.
Students will also have access to oral health care in elementary schools at no out-of-pocket cost to families beginning in January. TCHN offers health insurance enrollment assistance for families in need of assistance.
The complete list of upcoming TCHN programs and initiatives is available online at tchnetwork.org.
“Our entire organization will continue to strive to achieve health equity throughout our coverage area,” Cavender said.