New mental health mobile unit aims to reach underserved communities in Fresno County

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The Fresno Center and Anthem Blue Cross have launched a mobile mental health unit dedicated to helping underserved communities and people living in rural areas.

The $100,000 mobile unit can be driven anywhere in Fresno County and can reach more than 5,000 people every month.

"There's a reason why the community is hard to serve because a lot of them don't have transportation," said Pao Yang, the CEO of The Fresno Center. "A lot of them don't necessarily because of the culture, don't seek mental health services. Mental health has always been a stigma, you know, we're trying to break that barrier. To do that is to take the services to them. To take that education outreach to them as well."

Mental health clinicians and caseworkers will provide healthcare, information, education, and critical services, such as telehealth, food, case management, screenings, and vaccinations.

It will also support high quality integrative behavioral health services including:

  • crisis screening/assessment
  • intervention/support
  • counseling services
  • connecting or referring clients to community resources

According to a study published in the journal "Healthcare", lower-income people are hospitalized three times more for mental health services than non-lower income individuals in Central California.
"It's no secret that we have a mental health crisis in our community," said Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer at the mental health mobile unit launch event Monday. "It's going to provide hope to the hopeless. It's going to remember those who oftentimes feel forgotten."

The Fresno Center is currently developing a schedule for the mobile office. So far, it's already made a stop at the Thai, Lao, and Cambodian New Year celebration in April.

"This project, I believe, is the stepping stone into future innovative projects and efforts to provide equitable mental health services to our community," said Dr. Cheng Vang, the Clinical Director at The Fresno Center.

For more information about where the mobile unit will be located in the coming weeks, contact Dr. Cheng Vang at (559) 255-8395.
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