Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

In a 1943 paper psychologist Abraham Maslow described his “hierarchy of needs,” a visual that depicts the movement toward “self-actualization,” when personal potential is maximized. Without first satisfying the basic needs like stable housing, people may have a difficult time in other pursuits. Jackson Hole Community Counseling Center Executive Director Deidre Ashley said many in Jackson are having a difficult time fulfilling the foundational layer of the hierarchy.

There’s still time to take the behavioral health needs assessment being conducted for the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole, but not much.

Modeled in the same vein as the triannual Community Health Needs Assessment, the survey is meant to gauge the mental health needs of residents and the community’s ability to meet them. It’s the first foray in a systemwide attempt to improve mental and behavioral health outcomes.

So far, about 600 people have responded, and the deadline for answering is Aug. 20, said Abigail Ridgway, the consultant who is helping lead the effort. They have enough respondents to gain a broad picture of people’s needs, but they’d need at least 1,000 to 1,200 responses to break things into demographic groups.

As an example, Ridgway said one question asks whether someone needed mental health services in the past year. Then it asks whether that person accessed them, and if not, the reasons why. Since not every respondent will get to that third question, a high volume is needed to ensure they have enough people to understand which groups in Teton County are having trouble accessing care.

In the Community Health Needs Assessment that came out this year, for instance, Spanish-speaking respondents were primarily concerned with access to care and chronic disease, while English-speaking ones cited alcohol abuse and mental health as some of their top worries. Without enough responses, the team running the survey won’t be able to make such distinctions.

At the end of the information gathering, which includes the survey, review of data and input from providers, the group will put together a behavioral health needs assessment and plan, which will be shared with the public.

In her work at FSG, a consulting firm, Ridgway has led similar endeavors in other tourist towns such as Vail, Colorado, and Whistler, British Columbia. Resort towns have their own particular sets of problems and circumstances, she said, so that previous work will help her chart a path for Jackson.

The survey takes about five to 10 minutes and can be found at

Contact Tom Hallberg at 732-7079 or

Tom Hallberg covers a little bit of everything, from skiing to long-form feature stories. A Teton Valley, Idaho, transplant by way of Portland and Bend, Oregon, he spends his time outside work writing fiction, splitboarding and climbing.

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