Community Needs Assessment – Data gathering overview
As a result of our definition of community, through the first half of 2013, Carrier Clinic® conducted interviews with Mental Health Administrators and other Mental Health professionals in each identified county, attended monthly County Mental Health Advisory Committee meetings, participated in a collaborative effort with Somerset County Health Services stakeholders to produce a BRFSS study in 2012, has been invited to work in conjunction with Middlesex County on the Mental Health needs of their Implementation Strategy, as identified through their Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) study, and has relied on additional secondary demographic information to aid in the Needs Assessment process.
Interviews with Mental Health Administrators
In January 2013, letters went out to the Mental Health Administrators from Middlesex, Somerset, Ocean, Monmouth, Mercer, Morris and Hunterdon Counties, requesting a follow-up interview to discuss service gaps in the community. A representative from Carrier Clinic® conducted these interviews (either face to face or over the phone) during the first half of 2013.
Specifically, the following questions were asked:
- Can you identify your county’s top 5 primary unmet needs or service gaps, in relation to mental health?
- Do you believe your community (including your professional service providers) can benefit from additional mental health education, information, or services?
- Which delivery system(s) for any programs listed above would work best: in person, via technology (on demand webinar/videos), handouts? Other suggestions? Would you prefer a combination of all?
- To help with transportation issues, which location(s) in your community would work best? Do you have free or low-cost space available in these locations to hold programs on mental health education?
- Any other suggestions, questions, follow-up, etc.?
Interviews with Carrier Clinic® Social Services Department staff:
In March 2013, the Social Services Department answered a questionnaire outlining the unmet needs or service opportunities in each County.
The Social Services Staff were asked these questions:
- Can you identify each county’s top 3-5 primary unmet needs or service gaps, in relation to mental health?
- Do you believe any of these communities (including your professional service providers) can benefit from additional mental health education, information, or services? If you can think of a specific county (ies) that might benefit from a specific service(s) please fill in here:
- Which delivery system(s) for any programs listed above would work best: in person, via technology (on demand webinar/videos), handouts? A combination of all? Other suggestions?
Patient Focus Group Interviews with Carrier Clinic® patients:
During patient education groups held on a weekly basis between August 26 – September 16th, patients were asked questions to determine their most prevalent mental health needs. In most cases, the answers were not county-specific, but were very helpful in identifying potential action items for the Implementation Strategy. The questions asked were:
- What are the biggest problems you encounter when trying to get access to Mental Health Services?
- What are your barriers to medication compliance?
- Would you be interested in getting more information about Mental Health services in your area?
- How would you like to receive that information?
- Are there any community places where you currently gather where it would be helpful to have mental health resources or presentations?
Monthly attendance at County Professional Advisory Committee Meetings (PAC):
In order to keep abreast of needs throughout the state of New Jersey, representatives from Carrier Clinic® attend county meetings on a monthly basis. In addition to sharing ideas, providing information, identifying service gaps and offering support during county strategic planning sessions, attendance at these meetings allows Carrier Clinic® to maintain a synergistic relationship that benefits both patients and service providers throughout the state.
Somerset County/Healthier Somerset BRFSS Study:
In the fall of 2011, The Somerset Medical Center, in partnership with “Healthier Somerset,” located in Somerset County, NJ, contracted with a consultant to conduct a Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) among its adult community using the CDC BRFSS tool. The BRFSS is a national initiative, headed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that assesses the health status and risk factors among US Citizens.
Healthier Somerset, (consisting of Somerset Medical Center, the United Way, the Somerset County Public Health Department, Carrier Clinic®/East Mountain Hospital and other health providers) in coordination with the consultant, personalized the BRFSS tool to assess the specific needs of Somerset County. The tool was developed by selecting various core sections and modules from the BRFSS tool and adding individualized questions specific to the Somerset County area.
View the attached document for the full contents of Carrier Clinic®’s 2013 Community Health Needs Assessment.