The State of Health & Wellness (Physical & Mental) in West Contra Costa County

Building Blocks for Kids (BBK) is motivated to change the wellness culture in West Contra Costa County! 

With the multiple stressors of life at play, we recognize that taking care of the self and the family, both body and mind, can be a difficult thing to accomplish. It is increasingly harder to achieve wellness when there are systems in place that create obstacles towards that path. 

A significant number of families living in West Contra Costa County experience poverty, high rates of violence, underperforming schools, and cultural intolerance. These risk factors incubate issues of social isolation, language barriers, and social status. In Contra Costa, race/ethnicity, economic status, racism, and educational barriers contribute to disparities in physical and mental health, resulting in a high incidence of disease, poor mental health, and sometimes inadequate treatment. 

To better understand the above statement and to know who is at a disadvantage when navigating health systems, we take a look at county demographics. As of 2017, CCC was home to 1.15 million residents! Of those 1.15 million, 25.7% were Hispanic or Latino, 7.79% were Black or African American, 5.27% were mixed race, 0.46% were Native Hawaiian & other Pacific Islander, and 0.22% were American Indian & Alaska Native. On top of that, 35.8% of the population did not speak English as a first language. When looking at studies around income, the county reports that African Americans and Latinx earn the least; a fact that is echoed by the number of African Americans and Latinx who are reported to live in poverty.In education, numbers show that Native Americans and African Americans are the least likely to graduate from high school. 

So, what does this all mean? Well to start, just based on race, at least 39.44% of the County population is experiencing hiccups when pursuing wellness. African Americans in Contra Costa have worse health outcomes and have a dramatically shorter life expectancy (73.1 years) than any other racial/ethnic group in the county. Data shows that the leading causes of death among African American and Latinx residents in Contra Costa County are Heart disease, cancer, stroke, homicide, diabetes, and unintentional injuries. 

Scary. Well, what if we told you that heart disease and cancer are two of the most common preventable chronic diseases in the United States? 

When it comes to mental health, African American and Latinx parents/caregivers living in Richmond have reported limited or no access to quality mental health care. A sizable portion of these same populations does not know how to access resources due to financial and cultural reasons. This appears to be a trend, for other Black and Latinx California’s have also reported significantly higher rates of serious psychological distress compared to white Californians. When whole families are caught in prolonged states of crisis, they have a high probability of carrying these stressors across generations. In Contra Costa, greater wealth equated to a longer life. A child born in a low-poverty area in 2000 could expect to live more than six years longer than a child born in a high-poverty area. 

We at BBK believe that wellness is a right for everyone. 

To work towards this goal, BBK is currently developing programs and curriculum that will foster the forming of healthy habits and mindsets, so that West Contra Costa County residents can establish and sustain a healthy environment for themselves and their community.

If you are ONE of the many CCC residents that are impacted by these disparities, please leave a comment or share this post!

To learn how you can support the path towards community-wide wellness, check out our Giving Tuesday page or consider joining us at our next fundraiser!

Stay tuned-in the rest of the week to learn how BBK hopes to support individuals and families with wellness. 

Giving Tuesday Page

Fundraising Event