The Bexar County Health Collaborative reported today that the county is improving on measures set out in the past several years to improve the region's physical health, so today the collaborative placed mental and emotional health on the list of areas in which to fight for improvement, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

  "Mental health has been an issue that affects a number of us individually in the community, either directly ourselves or or family, somebody we know," said Dr. Steve Blanchard, a professor at Our Lady of the Lake University and ne of the leaders of the Health Collaborative.  "As you know, it has historically carried somewhat of a stigma."


  Mental health has been in the news a lot lately with high profile mass shootings in Houston, Santa Barbara California, and elsewhere.


  Blanchard says the issue of mental health has yet to be adequately studied, so the first job will be to find out how widespread a problem it is before moving forward on a plan to improve the region's mental health status.


  "This year and the next year or two are setting the data as the baseline for mental health and well being," he said.


  A report released today shows that the health collaborative is making strides in dealing with many of the issues which have previously been identified as issues, especially obesity.


  Other stated goals, decrease the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages among adolescents and adults by 10% by 2016, increase the proportion of adolescents and adults who meet physical activity national recommendations by 10%,  and improve pre natal care and cut the rate of teen pregnancy.


  The program isn't just for health issues.  Under the 'safe communities' heading, the Collaborative seeks to reduce the violent crime rate by 5% by 2-16, and reduce the number of family violence incidents and confirmed victims of child abuse and neglect by 5%.