Using Data to Create Change in Access to Mental Health Care

UnidosUS and the American Hospital Association (AHA) are working together to address the health disparities the United States is facing, and ensuring the improvement of health equity for our community. Through the Healthy, Equitable, and Resilient Communities (H.E.R. Communities) podcast series, the UnidosUS-AHA alliance is highlighting the work of community-based organizations and health care leaders in Chicago working together to advance health equity and social justice. The idea behind this podcast series is that hearing about the work the Chicago community is doing can spark ideas for other communities about what’s possible.

You can listen the first episode of this series, “Breaking Down Mental Health: Disparities in Access to Mental Health Services,” here. The second episode, “Research and Policy: How Health Disparities Data Informs Change,” provides key insights on the importance of driving policy changes in Chicago through the research made on mental health care access.

(From left): Arturo Carrillo, manager of mental health and family support at the Community Wellness Program at Saint Anthony Hospital, and Patrick Brosnan, executive director at Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.
(From left): Arturo Carrillo, manager of mental health and family support at the Community Wellness Program at Saint Anthony Hospital, and Patrick Brosnan, executive director at UnidosUS Affiliate Brighton Park Neighborhood Council.

Dr. Arturo Carrillo, mental health and family support manager at St. Anthony Hospital’s Community Wellness Program, talks about how limited resources impede the ability to provide the services the community needs. Through the Collaborative for Community Wellness’s research, they were able to “collect nearly 3,000 respondents and their opinion of what mental health access means for them and what the barriers of care are. […] After we collected the survey, we also started to map out where all the licensed clinical providers are throughout the entire city,” Dr. Carrillo explained. This research established that only 126 of the providers that the Chicago Department of Health had listed—out of 250—reported having mental health care services, of which only 19 offered free services.

Brighton Park Neighborhood Council Executive Director Patrick Brosnan is one of those residents and community-based organization participating in the Collaborative. This UnidosUS Affiliate saw this report as eye-opening: “People knew that they don’t have access [to mental health care], I mean, they live it …, but to see it verified and validated in research like this was really eye-opening. And it was also for the providers themselves because I think that they see they are doing good work and they know they are trying as hard as they can to address the needs of their patients.”

Stay tuned for the last podcast in this series, “How Clinical-Community Collaboratives Innovate,” and learn more about the AHA-UnidosUS Alliance below:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://www.unidosus.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/About-the-AHA-and-UnidosUS-Alliance.pdf” title=”About the AHA and UnidosUS Alliance”]

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