What is the problem that needs to be addressed? Please describe how it is related to mental health.
Please see the previously declined project “Increasing Sanitation Access.”
Why is this a concern for Orange County? What can Orange County and other counties learn from this project?
See “Increasing Sanitation Access.” 1) A health inequity/disparity exists in life expectancy for people experiencing mental illness and an inability to access handwashing can be shown to contribute to this inequity/disparity. 2) Infectious diseases (ID) that impact the Central Nervous System / Brain can illicit symptoms/signs that appear like a mental illness, but are not a mental illness. The CNS insult for some of these ID may be reversable while others may not be reversible. 3) Infectious diseases are associated with mental illnesses as a possible cause or exacerbating sequelae. 4) Infectious diseases can cause devastating or catastrophic medical illnesses that are often associated with new onset mental illness – specifically mood disorders such as depression or anxiety disorders. 5) Taking away or restricting access to resources involved in essential self-care, such as handwashing, has a negative impact on self-esteem, self-worth, feeling secure, dignity, etc.
What is currently being done to resolve this problem in our county and throughout the United States? If applicable: Is it working; why or why not?
See “Increasing Sanitation Access.”
What is new or different about this project idea? Please describe how this differs from what is already being done (Question 6). Please list any research that was done on this topic.
Providing a different option for mentally ill/homeless individuals to gain access to sanitation/trash services. Sanitation/trash services are mostly privatized services in Orange County. Those that don’t have private real estate holdings or contracts (or those in transit between holdings) thus don’t have access to sanitation trash and may experience the healthcare disparities/inequities associated with that status.
What is the project idea? Please describe how this project will operate.
Partner with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Next Generation Toilet Project to obtain a semi-public sanitation/trash choice for those that lack access to sanitation/trash services. Landowners, likely churches and non-profits, willing to place next-gen toilets on their properties would then be part of the solution to this issue. Vital development statistics for measuring access to sanitation/trash, such as open-defecation rates – are missing from the Orange County Indicators report. Thus, tracking open-defecation rates might provide a good health/development indicator to support the development of this project. Even the World Bank is incorrect on its assessment of Open Defecation in the United States – it most definitely isn’t 0% in Orange County, CA (https://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.STA.ODFC.ZS). Open defecation has been observed by this submitter at an Orange County healthcare contractor site, the corner of Katella and Harbor in Anaheim, multiple times by homeless individuals, etc. Classifying Open-Defecation rates by primary lack of access to sanitation or secondary conditioning that toilets aren’t a valid choice/functional incontinence could provide interesting data.