Conducting Qualitative Interviews on Mental Health Assets and Challenges on behalf of the Cochise County Health Department
Growing up in Bisbee, AZ, I have seen the major health issues in Cochise County for the majority of my life – lived with them, seen them impact friends, family, and others. Issues such as diabetes, obesity and unplanned pregnancy, and addiction. These issues are personal, as I watched girls drop out weeks before graduation to deliver their babies as well as wondering how to best educate populations in this town about caring for their chronic disease in a culturally competent, effective way.
In order to make an impact in the community, assets and resources must be fully tapped into. Today’s community interviews were a tool to identify such, but many other products came about as a result after the fact. For me, the activity felt painful and made me critically aware of my privilege within my community. People were talking about not being able to afford going to the clinic that I utilize at the slightest sign of illness. People talked about not being able to go beyond old Bisbee because of lack of reliable public transportation – I have always had a car with plenty of gas to use. And lastly, people talked about only having the resources available in Bisbee while I frequently travel to Douglas, Sierra Vista, and Tucson to meet my needs.
Taking an intimate look into the struggles of my community members shed new light on how important it is to shift lenses to see other perspectives even in the areas you think you know the best.
-Emma Conners, MPH Students Health Services Administration
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