The Region 7E Adult Mental Health Initiative (AMHI) contracted with Wilder Research to conduct a post-COVID mental health needs assessment of the counties in their region, which includes the counties of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine. This assessment was conducted via an online survey sent from county staff to mental health consumers and caregivers, as well as primary care providers, mental health providers, and county staff working in the region during the period of early November 2022 to mid-December 2022. This report summarizes the findings from the needs assessment. In total, 188 consumers and caregivers and 70 providers completed the survey; with several individuals that identified as more than one category
The majority of consumers feel they have the support they need to keep themselves safe and stable. This is true for both individuals who have sought services in the past two years and those who have not. A majority of respondents have used mental health services in the past two years, and many of them report being satisfied with the services they received and that these services have helped them avoid in-patient psychiatric hospitalization.
While some providers report service capacity that meets or exceeds demand, the majority of providers report that service capacity is limited or not available for most groups. This is especially true for transition age youth, children under age 16, specific cultural or ethnic groups, and incarcerated individuals.
COVID-19 made services even harder to access. Several respondents describe services as difficult to obtain anyway. Two-thirds of respondents felt that COVID- 19 made mental health services harder to access.
Roughly two-thirds of region consumers used telehealth services. The majority of those that had used telehealth report using the services often. A third of consumers report not having the technology needed to access telehealth services.
Consumers most commonly get information about mental health services from providers, from online searches, and from friends and family. Some consumers have used the Region 7E Adult Mental Health Initiative website to look for available services in their area, but a majority of consumers are unaware of the resource.
Similar barriers to accessing mental health services were provided by both consumers and providers. Common barriers endorsed by both groups included: not being able to find transportation to get to services, the service needed isn’t available in the area, the wait times are too long, and consumers not knowing what services are available.
The full report from Wilder is attached below.
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