Denton County Public Health
When thinking about healthcare providers, the first that come to mind are often primary care providers (PCP), specialists, nurses, and pharmacists; however, healthcare encompasses more than visits to a PCP or getting an annual screening done. Denton County Public Health (DCPH) provides healthcare services that often fall outside of that initial thought process, but are highly appreciated. With epidemiologists who track infectious disease rates and distribution within Denton County communities, to environmental health workers investigating and enforcing septic or standing water concerns, the skilled team at DCPH provides health services that prevent, promote, and protect the communities’ health. Prevention efforts from DCPH include communicating with PCPs on infection prevalence and educating on the importance of immunizations for vaccine-preventable diseases. DCPH utilizes the pillar of promotion to encourage healthy living within communities, whether it is initiating coalitions for access to care or services, encouraging healthier eating, or providing education on the health related benefits of exercise. Lastly, DCPH protects residents within Denton County with experts in the field of surveillance and monitoring and pursuing policies that further the health of all within our communities. While healthcare is often the services we receive at the doctor’s office, DCPH continues to lead our communities to a healthier future with unique and invaluable services that benefit the entire county.
Suicide and Suicide Prevention
Suicide rates have increased in almost every state in the U.S. from 1999 to 2016 and the most recent data shows that number is still rising. Within Denton County, there were 98 deaths by suicide in 2017, up from 88 in 2016. As this number continues to grow, it is vitally important for us to work together as a community to support and connect at risk individuals to mental and physical healthcare options. The CDC reports 54% of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition and instead that many other factors contribute to feelings of hopelessness and/or suicide. Relationship problems, impending or recent crisis, substance use, and either financial or health issues are all factors reported that contributed to suicide and are areas we can look for solutions within our communities to help prevent suicide. If you are concerned for a friend, neighbor, or family member’s wellbeing, BeThe1To.com advises 5 steps to help someone at risk including ask, keep them safe, be there, help them connect, then follow up. If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a free, confidential, 24/7 service that provides support, information, and local resources to people in a suicidal crisis or emotional distress or those around them. Visit SuicidePreventionLifeline.org or CDC.gov/vitalsigns/suicide/index.html for resources and additional information.
Denton County Master Gardner Association Wins Six Awards
Denton County Master Gardener Association (DCMGA) represented our community well at this year’s Texas Master Gardener Association (TMGA) state conference, winning six major awards, including 1st place for Outstanding Association in the Extra Large Association category.
Other honors awarded to DCMGA at the 40th anniversary celebration of Texas Master Gardeners included 1st Place Project: Class Planning & Administration; this team is responsible for promotion, recruitment, selection, logistics, mentoring, testing and everything else that is needed to turn community members into certified Master Gardeners. Raeline Nobles, who was recognized statewide as an Outstanding Individual, leads this team.
Our demonstration orchard and vineyard was honored with 2nd Place in the Research category. Officially named the Sandy Jacobs Government Center Annex Fruit and Nut Grove (SJG), it is located at the county building in Carrollton and is open to the public to visit. DCMGA received another 2nd Place award in the Educational Program category for Texas Our Heritage (TOH) Outdoor Classroom – 10 Climate Zones of Texas. This garden is at Heritage Elementary in Highland Village and is a collaborative project with the Master Naturalists. We also received a 2nd Place award in the Youth Junior Master Gardener (JMG) Program for our JMG Camp. This camp is a collaborative effort with the city of Denton Parks and Recreation department and won along with its sister program: Junior Master Naturalist camp as the Texas Recreation and Parks Society Excellence in Programming.
Additionally, DCMGA was named best program in the state at the 2018 Keep Texas Beautiful (KTB) Awards, which recognizes contributions by civic organizations that support the KTB mission.
In addition to the Master Gardner’s program, Denton County is fortunate to have a second exceedingly active and exemplary program, the Elm Fork Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalists (TMN). The TMN builds trails, leads nature hikes and gives presentations on birds, reptiles, rocks, astronomy and everything in between. They have their annual conference in October and are usually honored as one of the most innovative and active chapters in the state. It is so exciting to see the statewide recognition of these volunteer groups. Denton County knows the tremendous value that volunteers bring to our programs and hope you will join me in celebrating their achievements.
Thank you to our volunteers and administrative staff for all you do!
Did You Know?
Denton County is fortunate to have The Honorable Brody Shanklin leading the 211th District Court and The Drug Court created in October of 2016. The Drug Court offers intensive supervision and treatment to high-risk felony offenders that abuse drugs but show a genuine desire to break the cycle of addiction. Participation in the program is voluntary and the participants remain in the program for an average of 18-24 months. This court is different from the other Denton County specialized courts like the DWI Court, Mental Health Court, Veteran’s Court, and the Family Drug Court.
While in the program probationers are court-supervised and subject to continuous judicial involvement. Depending on the level of need, the participant will be placed in residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment and/or supportive outpatient treatment. Random drug testing is performed throughout the program. Scheduled office and court visits, as well as field visits, both scheduled and unannounced, are required as is participation in support group meetings. Maintaining stable employment and residence is emphasized.
I am delighted that our Judges have created the specialized courts to help our residents make better choices and return to their families and a productive member of society.
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If you have any questions or comments, please let me hear from you. My email is [email protected], and my office number is 972-434-3960.