New Partnership – Connect Washoe County (CWC) – Seeks to Improve Behavioral, Youth, and Adolescent Health

Renown Health partners with The Children’s Cabinet, Washoe County School District, and Nevada’s Office of Suicide Prevention for a three-year strategy


RENO, (September 9, 2021)– In Washoe County, four local organizations have created Connect Washoe County (CWC) to serve youth and families with a focus on mental health, substance misuse, and youth/adolescent health.

According to the 2020 Community Health Needs Assessment conducted by Renown Health, there are health indicators that have changed over time, signifying the need for more mental health resources in our community. In 2017, 16.30% of teens felt sad or hopeless. That number jumped in 2019 to 40.20%. Washoe County continues to trend higher than the state average for suicide attempts. Additionally, according to 2019 YRBS data, Washoe County youth continue to trend upwards in use of alcohol, marijuana, prescription drugs, and vaping with one in four 11th and 12th graders reported using marijuana. Emerging data from the CDC after the start of the pandemic indicates youth are increasingly isolated and facing greater mental health challenges than before.

“Suicide among young people continues to be a serious problem in Washoe County,” said Dr. Anthony Slonim, CEO of Renown Health.

Renown Health hosted a survey in early Fall of 2020, seeking input from the community on the health issues considered most important and overwhelmingly access to mental health treatment and mental health resources were the top identified need in Washoe County.

“It is such an honor to be a part of Connect Washoe County,” said Misty Vaughan Allen, State Suicide Prevention Coordinator. “Improving connectedness among individuals and across systems increases the possibility of help, and therefore hope, especially for those who might be more isolated.”

Student forums conducted by the Washoe County School District during the 2020-21 school year confirm this need. At a student town hall event on social-emotional wellness hosted by the Student Advisory Council, students reported increased experiences of anxiety and depression.

“What we discovered is that [students] don’t feel comfortable going to an adult when they are struggling with their mental health,” said Ivy Batmale, Student Vice President.

“Community linkages and partnerships are vital to the success of all families in Washoe County,” said Dr. Paul LaMarca, Chief Strategies Officer with WCSD, who is committed to supporting the social-emotional well-being of students and their families.

Under the leadership of The Children’s Cabinet, CWC has prepared a three-year strategy to better support youth and families through community collaboration starting 2021 through 2024.

“By creating robust networks of professional and paraprofessional community agencies including government, non-profit, faith-based, narrow-scoped, broad-scoped, large, and small, CWC will be able to maximize efforts in all areas of mental health and youth suicide prevention by assuring accurate identification of service gaps,” said Kim Young, Executive Director of The Children’s Cabinet.

  • Year One: Create and strengthen linkages in the community. For those interested in joining this collaboration, please contact Children’s Cabinet Department Director, Jacquelyn Kleinedler (
  • Year Two: Identify strategies to fill service and support gaps.
  • Year Three: Assure sustainability and economic viability.

 Families in need of mental health resources, substance misuse treatment resources, or youth/adolescent health resources can contact The Children’s Cabinet at 775-352-8090 or visit our website.


About The Children’s Cabinet

Established in Reno 1985, The Children’s Cabinet exists to keep children safe and families together by offering services and resources that address unmet needs. The organization represents a unique and effective collaboration between the private sector and public agencies in Nevada. The Children’s Cabinet helps more than 11,000 families annually with a wide range of services:  basic needs, child care resources, education, and work experience programs, crisis intervention, and family counseling. As a non-profit agency, The Children’s Cabinet relies on community support to provide programs and services at no charge to children and their families.


About Renown Health  

Renown Health is the region’s largest, locally owned and governed, not-for-profit integrated healthcare network serving Nevada, Lake Tahoe and northeast California. With a diverse workforce of more than 7,000 employees, Renown has fostered a longstanding culture of excellence, determination and innovation. The organization comprises a trauma center, two acute care hospitals, a children’s hospital, a rehabilitation hospital, a medical group and urgent care network, and the region’s largest, locally owned not-for-profit insurance company, Hometown Health. Renown’s institute model addresses social determinants of health and includes: Child Health, Behavioral Health & Addiction, Healthy Aging and Health Innovation. Clinical institutes include: Cancer, Heart and Vascular Heath, Neurosciences and Robotic Surgery. Renown is currently enrolling participants in the world’s largest community-based genetic population health study, the Healthy Nevada Project®. For more information, visit


About Washoe County School District

The Washoe County School District includes the Reno/Sparks metropolitan area, Incline Village, Gerlach, and Wadsworth, Nevada. The District provides each of its 62,000 students with a superior education in a safe and challenging environment and is committed to graduate every child career- and college ready.


About the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention:

The mission of the Nevada Office of Suicide Prevention is to reduce the rates of suicide and suicidal acts in Nevada through statewide collaborative efforts to develop, implement and evaluate a state strategy which advances the goals and objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The Office has developed the Nevada Suicide Prevention Plan with the goal of providing a catalyst for collaborative action, improved understanding and increased wellness in communities across Nevada. This plan is based on the strong belief everyone has a role to play in suicide prevention, and those individuals and groups which address the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of individuals and communities must work together if we are to be effective. For more information go to, if you are in crisis call 800-273-8255 or text CARE to 839863.

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