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Public health officials: General Relief Program providing more assistance than ever

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EUREKA- The Department of Health and Human Services General Relief Program has been providing more assistance to its clients since it implemented a new system in 2008. 

Officials with the Department of Health and Human Services say a multidisciplinary team, including staff from Mental Health, Public Health and Social Services has increased the General Relief Program’s ability to help people with mental health concerns or physical health problems. 

"Before the disciplinary team, individuals were left to their own accord to have to navigate the different components of the Department of Health and Human Services Public Health Branch, Mental Health Branch, and Social Services.  The multidisciplinary team takes an approach where they can offer assistance in navigating those different components," said Gary Silver, the Program Manager for the DHHS General Relief Program.

After people are assessed for mental or physical health problems by a mental health clinician or a public health nurse, social workers assist them in their individualized case plans.  The goal is to hopefully help them to get on an independent path.

"The multi disciplinary team takes an approach that addresses all the needs of any particular individual, be it, again, food, shelter, clothing, and then the barriers that are keeping them from being employable," Silver said.

The program is state mandated and county funded.  Officials say if a person cannot reenter the workforce, the program is designed to get them access to the benefits they need.

Enrollment in the general relief program has declined since 2004.