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5 min read

How Do Mobile Clinics Improve Access to Mental Health Care?

How Do Mobile Clinics Improve Access to Mental Health Care?

Over the years different mobile clinics emerged addressing various issues and offering services for a variety of needs, like health scans and dental care. The US has seen an undeniable increase in mobile units, and currently, there is an estimated number of 2,000 medical vehicles across the US. Having the recent health crisis in mind, we believe it is crucial to identify how do mobile clinics improve access to mental health care.

This guide addressed different mental health coaches' assets. It also inspects cost considerations and affordability, benefits of mobile clinics, community outreach opportunities, and more.

Why Are Mobile Clinics Important?

The first issue we want to examine is why mobile coaches are important as a concept. At its core, a mobile outreach clinic serves communities by providing support in their daily lives. 

In contrast to traditional healthcare facilities, a mobile clinic meets people where they are. A recent study revealed that low availability and long waits are among the top reasons why people in rural areas don’t receive the mental health support they need. Social stigma is another barrier that keeps individuals with mental health problems away from traditional clinics. 

The 2023 Mental Health America survey showed that around 55% of adults are not receiving any kind of treatment for their mental health issues. In absence of treatment, many individuals turn to substance abuse and worsen their condition. 

According to this MHA report, access to mental health care is challenging due to several reasons. While cost is on the top of the list, almost 30% of survey participants reported that they don’t know where to seek mental health services. 

Having all these issues in perspective, we can say that the mental health medical coach is more than an adequate solution. This mobile approach is both patient-centric and preventive. It allows for more comprehensive mental health services that traditional clinics regularly fail to provide. 

Why Are Mobile Clinics Important

Source: craftsmenind.com

Mobile health clinics in the US

A 2020 analysis of mobile clinics in the US showed that all clinics in the Mobile Health Map had a median number of 3,491 visits annually. Of 811 clinics involved in this research, 52% received financial support from philanthropy, while 45% received federal funds. 

According to these findings, mobile clinics are an important link between the community and facilities, but further work and advancements are needed for better results.

How Do Mobile Clinics Improve Access to Mental Health Care

When it comes to mental health and well-being, most individuals cannot identify their problems or admit to themselves that there are any. On the other hand, those facing behavioral problems often need quick access and momentary support.

As we mentioned in the previous section, one of the main reasons that people in the US don’t seek mental health counseling is because they don’t know where to find it. Considering this issue, mental health vehicles are available to their advantage offering mobility and outreach as well as great convenience for individuals seeking mental health care consultation. 

These vehicles can help any organization establish within a community and become recognizable. They can also be fully branded and as eye-catching as possible to attract the attention of the residents within a community. 

Impact of mental health care mobile clinics to patients

Though many individuals, especially in underdeveloped communities, have very little trust in medical professionals, the medical coach does not trigger those feelings. Instead they find it easier to communicate with staff due to the value of having a medical van physically drive to make the service more easily available. 

As a study that investigated the impact of mobile clinics reveals, what patients liked most about this approach is familiar environment, convenient location, and approachable staff who they find “easy to talk to”. When the service arrives at their doorstep it makes them feel seen and cared for. 

Overall, the mental health medical coach may redefine how mental issues are dealt with mainly due to two reasons. It is easily accessible within communities and offers people immediate care and counseling

While these factors are likely the most obvious benefits of mobile mental health clinics, other factors make this solution even more attractive. For instance, a recent study revealed that only 8% of mobile clinics offer mental health services, meaning organizations that specialize in mental health are highly underrepresented. 

Still, to learn more about the impact of mobile clinics, first, you should understand how they operate.

How do mobile mental health clinics operate

Medical coach vehicles solve many issues within underserved communities and rural, under-developed areas. Individuals from such areas often suffer addiction and homelessness, making reaching out to traditional clinics increasingly difficult. As a result, individuals who need mental health services don't seek it out. 

Mobile clinics are usually strategically placed within communities. They are located near grocery stores or in parking lots that are easily recognizable and accessible. Namely, to make the mobile coach approachable, it is best to ensure it is visually appealing and communicates your brand values. Medical clinics usually feature brand fonts, colors, and images so people may notice their service and spread the word. 

Over time, the medical coach becomes a recognizable place and an internal part of the community. People within the community start building a connection with the staff and begin to pursue advice about their behavioral health more regularly. 

Instead of focusing only on those individuals who learned to drop in regularly, mobile clinics may also reach out and try to connect to those unfamiliar with their work. To help as many individuals as possible, mental health outreach vehicles may travel through different neighborhoods and leave their mark across a wider territory. 

Responding to Mental Health Crisis 

As MHA (Mental Health America) 2023 statistics show, more than 50 million Americans experienced some type of mental illness during 2021 and 2022. Further statistics show that most adults with substance abuse don't receive treatment. 

Mental health professionals advise addressing behavioral problems quickly and effectively. However, mental health crises may appear even if treatment plans are followed and professionals are involved. 

One of the biggest setbacks in mental health therapy is that people don't get instructions on what to do after going through a mental health crisis. This is why local communities may benefit greatly from having accessible care always nearby. 

With the medical coach at reach, communities may get instructions and support on dealing with behavioral issues and seek help at their convenience. 

Responding to Mental Health Crisis

Source: craftsmenind.com

Mobile coach benefits 

Operating outside the traditional mental health clinic brings many advantages. According to Minnesota's Department of Human Services, mobile mental health services are a promising solution to short-term and intensive behavioral problems. 

Some of the most prominent benefits that mobile mental health clinics may offer include: 

  • Finding hard-to-reach individuals
  • Helping people avoid psychiatric hospitalization
  • Linking people with suicidal tendencies to appropriate services
  • Lessen suffering and help individuals cope with their situation
  • Help individuals navigate within the system after a mental health breakdown 

How Much Does It Cost to Run a Mobile Clinic?

While considering how do mobile clinics improve access to mental health care is important, considering cost is imperative as well. According to Mobile Health Map data, mobile health clinics report that their annual operating costs total $275,000 on average. However, the amount may vary based on the type of clinic you choose to run.

One of the ways to cut down on costs is to invest strategically. At Craftsmen Ind., we rely on careful planning and innovation when building mobile medical coaches. Engineering custom-built vehicles for our clients is our main objective. To make operational objectives easier, we present different design options. 

Keeping the cost for building the vehicle and operating the clinic in mind, we understand that clients can struggle to meet ends. This is why we offer the option for used mobile medical vehicles that can be an advantage to clients who wish to make ideas a reality but lack the funding. 

Final Thoughts

Trying to pinpoint how do mobile clinics improve access to mental health care, we identified two major aspects – accessibility and outreach. With the implementation of mobile coaches, individuals should gain easier access to mental health support and aftercare. Mobile mental health vehicles allow organizations to reach a wider scope of individuals with behavioral problems and offer assistance within underdeveloped communities. 

While the costs of running a mobile clinic might be unrealistically high for some organizations, at Craftsmen Ind., cost-friendly solutions such as used vehicles are available. Those who are not limited by a strict budget can explore different design options and construct a tailored-made vehicle distinct to their brand. 

While visibility and brand awareness are important it's worth noting that medical coaches are an instrumental tool in resolving the mental health crisis in the US. As their primary goal is outreach, these mobile vehicles are bound to reach communities that have little to no access to mental health resources and support. 

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