Chinese Outreach Pilot Program Makes a Positive Impact

While Chinese make up 11% of the San Mateo County population, only 2% of BHRS clients are Chinese.  In 2013, the Chinese Health Initiative (CHI) of the Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) documented their findings of under-utilization of behavioral health services by Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans and in June 2014, with Mental Health Services Act funding, successfully launched the Chinese Outreach Pilot Program.

The Chinese Outreach Pilot Program’s primary goal is to link individuals and families in need to appropriate behavioral health resources and further document the behavioral healthcare gaps and needs of the Chinese community. A part-time bilingual Outreach Worker was hired to provide outreach, linkage and warm hand-off.

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“…the community needs more culturally and linguistically competent outreach workers to help overcome the barriers for this population to take advantage of mental health services. If these fledgling programs cease we will continue to see a lack of usage of those services until it’s too late in the cycle. It’s great to see the pilot program and we should continue and expand on the success of that program.” – community member

Chinese Outreach Pilot Program Successes To-Date

(June 2014 – April 2015)

  • 9 targeted language and culturally appropriate outreach materials created
  • 27 outreach and education events at community organizations and health fairs
  • 10 formal seminars or presentations conducted
  • 6 strategic partnerships to better serve and link Chinese clients to services
  • 42 Chinese clients and their families linked to behavioral health services

(January 2016 – June 2016)

  • 2 strategic partnerships to better serve and link Chinese clients to services (a strong screening and referral system in primary care clinics and effective linking through the BHRS Access center)
  • 4  outreach and education events to public high schools
  • 23 monolingual Chinese seniors provided mental wellness screening
  • 21 community based agencies reached and developed partnerships
  • 12 Chinese clients and their families linked to behavioral health services

 

The Chinese Outreach Pilot Program has demonstrated a need for increased outreach and services for the Chinese community; so much so that the initial outreach worker was hired by a local health agency which provided the majority of referrals to BHRS.   In January 2016, a new Outreach Worker was hired to continue the work.  While there are systemic and resources challenges still to be addressed, we are hopeful that the Outreach Worker model will continue to sustain the successful efforts and partnerships developed and even be replicated to support other underserved communities in San Mateo County.

To view the full reports, please visit the ODE website at www.smchealth.org/bhrs/ode.