With increasing numbers of people in the United States, a significant number never receive adequate psychiatric care. Often it is the case that individuals from underserved areas who have diagnosed disorders frequently face problems accessing psychiatric services. These medically underserved areas may include a whole county or groups of contiguous counties, in which the residents have a shortage of personal health services taking up to more than 30 minutes of travel time to reach. Medically underserved populations include groups of persons of a particular cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, spiritual belief, socioeconomic strata, or legal status, as well as persons residing in isolated geographic locations, that face barriers to health care. Underserved individuals can potentially lack insurance coverage and financial resources, as well as face cultural stigma, which may deter them from seeking mental health services. As a result, delayed identification and treatment of behavioral health issues can frequently lead to potentially negative outcomes. Therefore, it is imperative to individualize each patient interaction to explore options to remove barriers.
SAMHC implemented and provide prevention and early intervention treatment in a non-traditional setting utilizing a new mobile clininc as mental health clinics to reach families directly in their communities, with the goals of increasing access to services, reducing stigma, and providing services in geographically isolated areas.
Clinical teams are comprised of two therapists serving on each mobile unit, with auxiliary support provided by a staff psychologist, mental health services supervisor, and psychiatry residents. The clinical team provides counseling, parenting classes, and consultation while on the mobile unit.
Mobile clinic creates increased feasibility to patients to access mental health services in geographically isolated areas. Mobile clinic deliver care to hard-to-reach or disaster-affected populations. They are flexible: personnel and services can be tailored to geographic location, culture, language, gender and/or choice of services to promote patient-centered care.
The mobile clinic plan is to serve all clients in all 3 counties (Spartanburg, Cherokee and Unioin). Having access to mental health services in underserved populations is paramount in providing early intervention through behavioral therapies and addressing mental illness through referral to behavioral health services.
Reducing mental health barriers and eliminating disparities in underserved populations is crucial in helping empower patients and families. Access to behavioral health services is a serious issue requiring innovative measures. Community involvement is pivotal in strengthening ties between communities and mental health by providing services to the people who need it the most, such as those residing in geographically isolated communitie
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