Crow Wing County Partners with Bridges of Hope to Build a Self-Healing Community
Crow Wing County is facing their health and social issues within their neighborhoods head-on by building a self-healing community.
“Crow Wing County has been trying for a really long time to solve a lot of social issues related to child protection, substance abuse, mental health, and we know we can’t do it all on our own,” Kara Terry, Crow Wing County’s Community Services Director, said.
So, the county reached out to Bridges of Hope, and together they came up with a self-healing community model.
“This model really started in the state of Washington, in several counties in Washington in the 1990s,” Kassie Heisserer, Bridges of Hope’s Executive Director, said. “Based on that, the communities there started to see some amazing outcomes for health.”
The model forces conversations to happen between people, to really find out what is going on in the communities.
“This model actually gets into the community,” Terry said, “to ask the community what they need, as opposed to us going in, telling them what they need.”
“I’ve been spending a lot of time having conversations with people who are working in the community and who live in the community,” Amy Wyant, the project’s coordinator, said.
The project will start in the communities of northeast Brainerd near Garfield and Lowell Elementary, but the plan is to expand to all of Crow Wing County. The County used a Geographic Information System, also known as GIS mapping, to decide what neighborhoods to implement the self-healing community.
Now, it’s time to find the issues and come up with solutions to fix them.
“What can we do practically that is going to help people, and help them sooner rather than later,” Wyant said.
The self-healing community model will try to build stronger relationships within Crow Wing County, and as a result, the county will see great outcomes, but the change will not happen overnight.
“But the really important stuff, the outcomes, or the actual impacts on the community, a reduction in child protection, a reduction in suicide rates, an increase in school attendance, those are going to take a while,” Terry said. “We are thinking at least five years if not ten.”
The project is still at the beginning stages of talking to community members and finding out what issues people are dealing with, but Crow Wing County hopes to see vast improvements within the community in the next several years.
To learn more about the Self-Healing Communities project, visit the link below.