A report assessing the health of Kenosha County and outlining priority areas for improvement was published recently, setting the stage for a community-led health planning process that is now underway, local public health leaders announced today.
The 2022 Kenosha County Community Health Assessment incorporates data collected in a 124-question survey that was presented to residents last year, as well as information gathered at Community Conversations events and through other exterior data sources.
Nearly 1,000 people responded to the survey, which was conducted online and on paper in the fall of 2022. That is more than twice the number of respondents in past surveys that were conducted by telephone, and the respondent makeup reflects the age, race and ethnicity demographics of Kenosha County said Interim Health Director Lori Plahmer.
“This plan, which we’re required to develop under state law, provides a roadmap for the community for setting public health priorities,” Plahmer said. “We’re pleased with the increased level of community participation and with the continued engagement by our community health partners.”
The top five health concerns identified by the community were:
- Access to affordable health care
- Affordable housing
- Drug and alcohol use
- Access to affordable healthy food
- Violence and crime
Community stakeholders gathered in May and voted to create action groups addressing top three concerns listed above, combining mental health with drug and alcohol use. These groups had their initial meetings late last month and will convene again on July 27 and Aug. 24. Those interested in participating may sign up at https://bit.ly/ThriveActionGroups.
The full Community Health Assessment Report along with various data stories are available on the Kenosha County Thrive webpage, at https://www.kenoshacounty.org/thrive.
Data snapshots from the Kenosha County Community Health Assessment Report:
- Access to affordable healthcare:
- Only 42% of respondents agreed that there were affordable health care services in their community.
- Kenosha County has fewer primary care providers per person than the Wisconsin average.
- Kenosha County residents making between $20,000 and $60,000 a year are more likely to delay health care than people making more or less yearly.
- Affordable housing:
- 73% of white respondents own their home compared to only 18% of Black respondents.
- From 2011 to 2021, median mortgage costs in Kenosha County have stayed even while rent costs have increased significantly.
- Only 31% of respondents agreed that there are affordable housing options in Kenosha County.
- Mental health/drug and alcohol use:
- From 2019 to 2022, Kenosha County had 610 opioid related ambulance runs, or on average three runs a week.
- Only 74% respondents stated they had an adequate support network that benefits their mental health.
- Kenosha County has fewer mental health providers per person (680 people per provider) than the Wisconsin average (420 people per provider).
- 46% of respondents said they sometimes, often, or always felt anxious, stressed, uneasy, or unable to relax with the last month (fall 2022).
- 38% of respondents said they sometimes, often, or always felt sad, blue, or depressed in the past month (fall 2022).