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Shasta County

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In reporting her series on mental illness in Shasta County, Alayna Shulman didn't find the data she was hoping for. Instead, she highlighted that lack of data in her story. It was one of several lessons she took away from working on the project.

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As part of its Fragments of Care series on mental illness, Redding's Record Searchlight asked various North State leaders and officials what they think needs to be done to improve mental health services in the area.

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If anyone knows how mental illness can land someone in the criminal justice system, it’s Dianna Branch, the mother of a severely mentally ill adult son. She says his illness — and the drug use he believes eases his symptoms — has caused him to start fights, total seven cars and vandalize property.

Picture of Alayna Shulman

The roster of mental health workers in the rural areas is alarmingly small. And with too many people seeking help and few professionals to offer it, experts say the results are predictable: lengthy wait times, fragmented care and — in some cases — patients giving up hope of finding treatment.

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In Northern California's Shasta County, a growing number of young adults are consumed by heroin addiction. The problem has quickly grown in the past two years and, some say, is approaching methamphetamine’s popularity. The surge in drug use has fueled a rise in crime levels as well.

Picture of Pauline Bartolone

When I left for a week of reporting in rural California in late February, I didn't know I would come back with two stories about the devastating health consequences of isolation.

I'm not just talking about the geographic isolation one finds in a remote area. From the hilly evergreen landscape of eastern Shasta County, to the agricultural flatlands of Tulare County in the South Central Valley, I witnessed how isolation can leave people in the dark about keeping healthy, lead to emotional despair, and pose real barriers to quality of life.

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California communities have received millions of dollars for mental health treatment from a new state tax. Are they wasting it? Get tips on how to find out.

Picture of Ryan Sabalow

This Sunday in the Record Searchlight, we revealed that nearly two thirds of Shasta County's doctors are older than 50, and there aren't nearly enough young doctors lining up to replace their retiring peers.

Picture of Ryan Sabalow

This weekend, we ran a story that looked at Shasta County's high rates of hysterectomies and back surgeries, an important -- and touchy -- topic in our community given Redding from its years-long ordeal following FBI agents investigating allegations of unnecessary heart procedures performed at what was then Redding Medical Center

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Dr. Andrew Deckert is the public health officer for Shasta County. In this capacity, he has a state-mandated responsibility to protect the health of Shasta County residents. He works closely with the Shasta County Department of Public Health to provide leadership in public health emergencies and oversees various department divisions.

Announcements

The deadline is Friday, December 14, to apply for the 2019 California Fellowship, which provides $1,000 reporting grants and six months of expert mentoring to 20 journalists, community engagement grants of up to $2,000, specialized mentoring, to five.  

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