The Prevention and Early Intervention (PEI) project is a three-year
collaboration between San Diego mental health services programs and the
County of San Diego, Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA). The PEI
project was implemented following the Mental Health Services Prevention
and Early Intervention Act, which increased funding for mental health
services in the state of California. HSRC is responsible for project
coordination and program evaluation for adult PEI programs. In
addition, HSRC designed a web-based database and online survey data
entry forms to accommodate data collection and reporting for all PEI
programs in San Diego County.
In addition to many program-specific goals, the PEI programs taking part in this project share some common goals, including:
- Increased public awareness and understanding of mental illness
- Improved prevention efforts for people at risk of mental illness
- Reduction of stigma towards people with mental illness
Targeted projects were designed and implemented to meet each
program’s goals. The media campaign aims to meet the common PEI goals,
as well as to increase suicide prevention through media and education
targeting underserved and un-served populations in San Diego County.
Other projects include culturally appropriate education-media for the
Hispanic/Latino community, linkages and referrals for military veterans
and their families, and mental health screenings for individuals
participating in alcohol and drug services programs. Additionally,
several programs have implemented interventions intended to increase
access to health care, prevent or reduce mental health symptoms, and
reduce ethnic disparities in care for transitional age youth (TAY),
adults, older adults, and those living in rural communities.
ADS Program Evaluation
One PEI program has integrated Alcohol and Drug Services (ADS) with
existing mental health services to identify and screen individuals with
co-occurring substance/alcohol abuse and mental health issues, prior to
their development of severe mental health issues. In addition, 13 ADS
sites in San Diego County have added mental health counselors to support
individuals in their efforts to recover from substance abuse issues.
Interventions applied are best practices and are specific to client
needs, age appropriate, integrated, accessible, culturally competent,
and strength-based. Mental health counselors within each site provide
mental health screenings, linkages to additional services, consultations
to ADS staff, and information and education for parents. Education and
brief counseling to reduce risk factors and develop life skills are
available to clients, along with support for prevention, treatment, and
recovery. HSRC is evaluating program-specific outcomes including mental
health screenings and clients’ satisfaction with services, to determine
the impact of additional services at ADS sites.
The County of San Diego has launched a media campaign to increase
understanding of mental illness in hopes of reducing stigma and to
increase awareness/access to mental health services. Can a media
campaign of this nature really influence deeply held beliefs such as a
stigma? To find out, we are conducting a two-year survey of San Diego
County adults that assesses attitudes, beliefs, awareness of and
self-reported usage of mental health resources, and stigma associated
with mental illness. General mental health screening measures are
included in the survey to assess the incidence/prevalence of mental
illness symptoms within the community.
The Community Survey is administered two ways: by anonymous web-based
computer survey and through an anonymous phone survey which uses a
random selection process.