Online Program

Building capacity and infrastructure for behavioral health surveillance and measuring population-level impact of Mental Health First Aid in Philadelphia

Monday, November 2, 2015 : 1:30 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.

Amy Carroll-Scott, PhD, MPH, Community Health and Prevention, Drexel University School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Felice Le-Scherban, PhD, School of Public Health, Dept. of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA
William Koulisis, Drexel School of Public Health, Philadelphia, PA
Many US communities are facing significant behavioral health needs and increased violence with no foreseeable solution to the complex causes and consequences of this reality. Nationally, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) programs are growing to address this need, fueled in part by federal funding (SAMHSA’s Project AWARE) to train teachers and others who work with youth. To date, the Philadelphia MHFA program has trained over 8,000 Philadelphians with the intention to train 100,000, including behavioral health and social workers, first responders, school staff, and community residents. The Drexel University School of Public Health started evaluating the Philadelphia MHFA program in 2012, focusing first on the impact of the training on the work and lives of those trained (First Aiders). This presentation will describe efforts to capture the impact of this population-level program on different levels along a socioecological framework including MHFA administration, instructors, service providers, patients/clients, and community residents. This work includes 1) strengthening MHFA capacity and infrastructure to track registrants and trainees, 2) understanding geographic clustering of First Aiders in workplaces and residential neighborhoods, 3) developing city-wide behavioral health indicators and a system of longitudinal surveillance, and 4) planning and implementing a study of multilevel impact of MHFA training in school communities. We will present challenges and lessons learned from our formative work to develop evaluation systems and research that address both the broad and the deep impact of MHFA as a strategy for reducing behavioral health disparities and stigma, and building community resilience to ensure residents’ well-being.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
List the multiple levels of individuals and systems potentially impacted by the Mental Health First Aid program. Discuss the challenges in evaluating a population-level behavioral health intervention such as the Mental Health First Aid program. Identify approaches and infrastructure important for evaluating the impact of the Mental Health First Aid program at multiple levels.

Keyword(s): Mental Health, Data Collection and Surveillance

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator on this project.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.