By Teri Vance
Carrying on its mission to create a healthier community, Partnership Carson City distributed about $1 million last year to community agencies and disposed of unused or expired prescription drugs during two annual drug roundups.
“Prescription drugs are one of the worst public health problems we face,” said Kathy Bartosz, executive director of Partnership Carson City. “It’s very challenging because of the big industry push behind them.”
Moving into the new year, Bartosz said, the alliance of community agencies will continue the battle.
“With the Legislature coming up, we’re looking to build on the accomplishments of the last session,” Bartosz said. “We’re going to stay on top of the issue and do what we can on a local level.”
The agency will also keep up its efforts to expand services to promote health on all levels, including mental health, with a focus on suicide awareness and prevention.
“Until these things hit your family, you don’t realize how hard it is to get support,” she said. “We want to talk about the initial problems that point to a mental illness. When you can raise awareness about mental health, it changes the whole stigma. We want to get much more into the front end of it by getting them help earlier.”
Partnership’s youth group One Up focuses on the prevention of suicide, drugs, alcohol and tobacco.
Brooklyn Maw, who recently took over as the One Up adviser, started with seven students and has grown the club to more than 50, making it one of the largest clubs at Carson High School.
“Her energy has absolutely mobilized the youth and energized them in their creativity,” Bartosz said. “The students really feel purposeful and able to engage in positive dialogue with their peers.”
Bartosz also pointed to a fresh website (partnershipcarsoncity.org) as an asset to the coming year.
“It’s more user friendly, and we now have the ability to keep it updated 24/7,” she said. “It’s more organized so people can find what they’re looking for more easily and quickly. We’ve got an updated list of service providers.”
It also allows more interaction with the community.
“It’s responsive to users, and has increased people’s opportunity to engage with it through social media,” Bartosz said. “Citizens can now be a part of the discussion.”
The list of partners working with Partnership Carson City is also growing.
“We have a hundred different individuals who have partnered with us through our Community Action Agency Network,” she said. “We have around 35 who attend our monthly meetings. We are sharing resources and, at the same time, avoiding the duplication of services.”