- Rosa Espinoza, PsyD, Postdoctoral Fellow, USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
- Rebekah Stevenson, PhD, Behavioral Health Clinical Training Director, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Chicago, IL
- Emely de la O, PsyD, Behavioral Health Assistant Director, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Chicago, IL
- Luisa Adame, MA, LPC, Behavioral Health Resident, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Chicago, IL
- Suzanna Zavaleta, PsyD, Behavioral Health Provider, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Chicago, IL
- Ana Patricia Juarez, Behavioral Health Admin Intern, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Chicago, IL
- Viviana Perez, MS, LPC, Behavioral Health Intern, Lawndale Christian Health Center, Chicago, IL
Racial and ethnic minority groups experience higher prevalence rates of mental health disorders, with greater disparities in social determinants of health affecting treatment engagement and access. Over 50% of Latinxs and African Americans with diagnosed mental health conditions have unmet treatment needs (Alegria et al., 2015) and the prevalence of health inequities and disparities often found within medically underserved communities of color has contributed to workforce shortage of qualified mental health service providers (Marques et al., 2020). This gap has further increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly within under-resourced communities of color disproportionately negatively affected (Kanzler & Ogbeide, 2020). Infection prevention and control guidance has presented unique challenges to providing access to care within traditional Primary Care Behavioral Health models (PCBH). Therefore, it has been imperative for primary care safety net sites to more creatively assess, engage, and adapt service delivery models to effectively address unmet community needs in culturally-responsive ways during the pandemic. This demonstration project will review the development, implementation, adaptation, and sustainability of a low-threshold mental health treatment group program delivered via audio-only telehealth in Spanish and English to address undertreated mental health needs and emotional distress exacerbated by the pandemic and civil unrest. The intervention targeted primary care patients with high utilization of primary care telehealth services within the PCBH model at a large FQHC in a multiculturally diverse urban setting by offering eleven, trauma-informed modules (adapting ACT and CBT interventions) in a weekly, open-access group format. Descriptive statistics and frequency distributions of group participants’ (n=129) demographic information, primary care service utilization, and group retention will be analyzed to examine program efficacy and the subsequent impact on patient healthcare engagement during the pandemic. Implications of the findings will be presented for population-focused interventions within patient-centered medical homes, along with next steps to flatten the curve for mental health needs utilizing a behavioral health response framework (Kaslow et al., 2020).
- Identify creative ways for integrated Behavioral Health Services to assist with overutilization of primary care services during a global pandemic.
- Identify ways to leverage technology and adapt to telehealth services using culturally appropriate and relevant methods.
- Implement a service line expansion to meet the need of an overutilized healthcare system and increase engagement in mental health services.