Mental Health Matters
Transportation Access to Mental Health Services Vital to Recovery.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month which is a time to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma so many experience. Mental illness can affect a person in so many ways and one of those ways is their ability to access transportation services.
Transportation touches many aspects of a person’s daily life and without adequate and reliable access to mental health services they can become isolated. A ride to
one of our local crisis centers, treatment programs, or even therapy appointments may be the critical difference between someone getting the care they need or continuing to struggle with their mental illness. The lack of transportation can have a compounding affect not only on the individual but on our community as well. With delayed or missed mental health appointments our local healthcare systems feel the burden of increased emergency room visits, increased health expenditures, and overall poorer health outcomes.
Early in 2019, the lack of adequate, reliable, and responsive mental health transportation services led local emergency room staff and county mental health personnel to reach out to Care Connection for assistance. After learning of this need, we went right to work researching the barriers individuals in our community faced and what services were available to them. We pulled together key players from our staff to form a Behavioral Health Development Team and put together a comprehensive Behavioral Health Driver Training Program and Transportation Initiative.
During our research, we found there were very few options and services available making it very difficult for individuals to receive transportation assistance to the vital mental health services they need. We discovered that ambulances and police vehicles were often used to transfer these individuals which unnecessarily utilized valuable community resources and further stigmatized the individual. Our goal was to create an alternate transportation solution with a less traumatizing and less stigmatizing approach. Ultimately, Care Connection was able to develop and implement a service that has aided in the treatment process by fostering a safe and supportive environment for individuals to seek and receive the help they need.