Mental health was on the minds of the Community Resource Council on Wednesday.
Marilyn Mochel of Multidisciplinary Approach to Crosscultural Help, or MATCH coalition, spoke to the CRC at its regular meeting.
"The coalition focuses on health disparities and, most recently, is focusing on social determinents of health," Mochel said.
Much of her presentation highlighted mental health first aid. Like first aid for physical injuries, mental health first aid trains people to handle a situation until an expert can intervene.
"A portion of the training talks about the most common mental health disorders, and then gives the skills so that a person can recognize that," Mochel said.
About 26 percent of people nationwide have at least one diagnosable mental health issue in a year. Health issues, mental or otherwise, are affected by social and economic factors limiting access to health care, Mochel said.
She presented the PBS documentary "Unnatural Causes" as part of her presentation.
According to the documentary, she said, the United States spends more on health care than any other country.
Reaction of members
Committee member Ashlee Williams said she was surprised to hear the United States ranks 30th in the world in life expectancy.
Chuck Newcomb, another member and a dietitian, said he was skeptical of the documentary.
"When you try to save a life of a baby that in any other country would have died at birth, it brings up the death rate in children," Newcomb said.
Issues of health care are complex, he said. Newcomb is also a contributing columnist to the Enterprise.
Mochel, a registered nurse, said the idea behind the documentary is to evaluate the access different communities have to health care.
"I think we can all agree that everybody should have similar opportunity," Mochel said.
The council plans to incorporate the documentary into its meetings, but has yet to determine in what capacity.
Enterprise reporter Thaddeus Miller can be reached at (209) 388-6562 or by email at tmiller@losbanos