Economic Distress and Limited Neighborhood Investment in Appropriate Services Lead to Intergenerational Trauma and Poor Health Outcomes
South Stockton residents have been plagued with poverty, violence, high incarceration rates and economic disinvestment for decades, leading to high levels of individual and community trauma that have become intergenerational. Young people, people of color and low-income communities suffer the most.
Tragically, San Joaquin County lags far behind other counties when measuring the number of mental health care providers (190 per 100,000 residents, versus 289 statewide). This especially applies to South Stockton, where many service organizations are not adequately trained to respond to trauma. The impact of this history is illustrated by the shocking 20-year gap in life expectancy between South Stocktonians and residents of more affluent neighborhoods.
Establish Comprehensive, Multi-Sector Solutions for Community-Identified Issues
Beginning in 2016, local leaders convened a team of health care, behavioral health and community stakeholders to collaborate around increasing access to trauma-informed care. They chose to launch an Accountable Community for Health built around the backbone organization Reinvent South Stockton Coalition (RSSC). RSSC is a multi-sector alliance of medical providers, local government agencies, community organizations and advocates that work together to transform South Stockton. The focus on trauma arose directly out of community conversations facilitated by RSSC.
Together, these organizations embrace a resident-directed collective impact model that works to establish community-clinical linkages and train all stakeholders on a “Results-Based Accountability Framework,” encouraging partners to use data to identify community goals and develop innovative solutions.
One of the team’s first goals was to ensure South Stockton residents experience safe, healing interactions in any space where they receive services or support. They moved towards: 1) increasing available behavioral health treatment resources, and 2) training organizations and community care workers to successfully deliver trauma-informed care. RSSC also coordinates and catalyzes cradle-to-career interventions to improve health and quality of life in South Stockton. Partners work to increase healthy eating, encourage active living, promote parks, transform neighborhoods and encourage the development of adequate affordable housing.
ACH IN ACTION
Building Trust Between Residents and the Systems That Serve Them
One RSSC-led initiative, the Family Connect Program, has deployed “Trustbuilders” throughout South Stockton neighborhoods for more than two years, engaging door-to-door with up to 100 residents each month, connecting them to services, including health care and mental health care.
In addition to serving residents, the broader goal is to increase trust and transform neighborhoods with community feedback guiding every decision. In that spirit, the ACH also hosts frequent community meetings to solicit direction and participation from residents. Altogether, these interventions help build a community environment that boosts the economy equitably, while reducing trauma and providing resources for those who would otherwise slip through the cracks.
Improving Community With Greater Investments
RSSC and its partners are expanding their efforts around trauma-informed services into a countywide collaboration that aims to further increase access to screening, behavioral health services, and greater capacity and funding.
A major element of this growth involves a Wellness Fund that braids public and private funding sources. The ACH’s organizers aim to see a measurable drop in the number of traumatic events, people in poverty and negative health indicators, helping to break the cycle of intergenerational trauma.
Learn more at www.rsscoalition.org.
The California Accountable Communities for Health Initiative (CACHI) was established to spearhead efforts to modernize our health system and build a healthier California. To realize this vision, CACHI utilizes a model known as Accountable Communities for Health (ACH), where multiple sectors align goals and collaborate to address the leading health issues facing our communities.