(Clarinda) — Page County health officials have launched a new free service in hopes of breaking barriers to medical care access.

Recently Page County Public Health announced new Community Health Navigation Services, intended to provide guidance and possible action steps for individuals seeking health care. Richard Mullen is the administrator of the public health agency. Mullen says the program is offered to all individuals that live or receive care within Page County. In addition, he says the public health office will provide various services for county residents.

“We provide a lot of advocacy work for them, we can help or assist them in making phone calls to get required services they might need, or help them fill out the Medicaid or EBT applications that are required to get some assistance,” said Mullen. “And just really helping people improve the quality of their own personal health.”

Mullen says one of the primary services includes an assessment that can be arranged by contacting the public health office.

“They can come in and we can walk through a self assessment and then review that self assessment and give them a complete run down of the areas that are really beneficial in their life and what they’re doing really well — basically their strengths,” Mullen explained. “And then identify some areas and recommendations or concerns that they might want to stop and focus on.”

He adds that assessment can help break down health care which he says is “multi-dimensional” and doesn’t always require drastic life changes to improve.

“Realizing that once you break down that multi-dimensional concept, is that they can start looking at it bits and pieces here and understand how it all comes together for the overall health of the individual,” said Mullen.

He says the inspiration came from his previous job with Zion Integrated Behavioral Health Services — which implemented a similar program and saw individuals make more effort in addressing their health care needs. Mullen says the hope is to bring that same effort to the county-wide level.

“Once you start talking about it and you kind peel away that band-aid of ‘what are the areas of my life that I need to improve on health wise,’ people start actually taking action and it really helps them and benefits them,” Mullen elaborated. “People start feeling better and they have low experience of depression and anxiety and those types of things.”

For more information on the program or to sign up for the services, contact Mullen with Page County Public Health at 712-850-1212.

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