Solano County nationally recognized for mental health services – The Vacaville Reporter

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Following completion of a five-year project to address mental health disparities, Solano County’s Behavioral Health Division received second place in the American Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) 2022 “Innovations that Bolster Community Trust in Science Award.”

The project, known as the Interdisciplinary Collaboration and Cultural Transformation Model (ICCTM) Innovation Project, was active from 2016 to 2021, and Solano Behavioral health partnered with UC Davis Center for Reducing Health Disparities (CRHD), community members, Rio Vista CARE, Fighting Back Partnership and Solano Pride Center. Funding was provided through the Mental Health Services Act.

The goal of the project, according to a county news release was to “implement strategies to increase access and utilization for services for County-specific underserved populations that had historically been shown to have low mental health services utilization rates in Solano County identified as the Latino, Filipino, and LGBTQ+ communities.”

The project was done in three phases: a cultural needs assessment using a community engagement approach, the development of a training curriculum specific to Solano as well as community-defined quality improvement actions using the national Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services standards as a framework, and refinement and implementation of the quality improvement action plans.

“What UC Davis Health, CRHD and the County and community partners have accomplished with this unique collaboration is nothing short of remarkable,” CRHD Director Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola said in a statement. “This is one of the most meaningful projects I’ve been involved with in my entire career because of the way in which we collectively increased access and utilization of much-needed mental health services for populations that have been historically underserved.”

The project developed 14 quality improvement plans that focused on increased community engagement, workforce development and training. One plan highlighted in the news release was called “Taking CLAS to the Schools” which supported funding and implementation of School-Based Wellness Centers at 45 K-12 and adult education centers throughout the county.

Another plan was a community-friendly resource guide called the “TRUEcare Promoter Roadmap,” aimed at providing information on specialty services available in their preferred language.

“As a result of the ICCTM Project, we are now using an equity lens in all things we do, from outreach to service delivery,” Tracy Lacey, Solano County senior manager and MHSA coordinator, said in a statement.

By the time the project ended, Solano Behavioral Health’s 24/7 access line received an average of 2,066 callers per year, an increase from 1,601 callers per year at the start of the project, according to the news release. Additionally, the three communities of focus — Latino, Filipino and LGBTQ+ — received an increase in calls by 32, 41 and 309% respectively. LGBTQ+ customers doubled their use of outpatient services from four to eight.

“In addition to increasing access to care for the three communities of focus, we are most proud of taking a community (LGBTQ+) that was often invisible and creating environments where people can be seen as their authentic selves,” Lacey said in a statement.

The ICCTM Project will be highlighted as the first case example listed in the third edition of the “Principles of Community Engagement” which is a publication currently being developed by the National Institute of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. This publication is available in English and Spanish and is used worldwide as a guide for best practices related to engaging communities in identifying strategies to address health concerns and disparities.

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