Assessing Front Office Staff Awareness on Mental Health Resources at Youth Friendly Clinics in Los Angeles County

Abstract

Introduction

Mental illness is a global health challenge and continues to rise among minors. Community clinics are well positioned to provide mental health services to young people.

Objective

To assess community clinic front staff awareness of recent legislation mandating access by minors to mental health services and the actual services delivered by these clinics.

Methods

We conducted a face-to-face survey with front office staff at community clinics in service planning areas (SPA) 6, 7, and 8 in Los Angeles County (LAC) to understand the staff awareness of the services provided to the minor by the clinic. These SPAs have been previously identified as serving a low socioeconomic population. Fisher’s exact test and the chi-square test were conducted to understand the factors influencing the front desk personnel awareness.

Results

Data were collected from 17 clinics in SPA6, 15 clinics in SPA7, and 4 clinics in SPA8. All of the clinics provided Family-PACT insurance, resources for domestic abuse, intimate partner violence, mental health (such as anxiety and depression) and alcohol/drug abuse; however responding front desk staff in twenty-five out of 36 (69.4%) clinics was aware of the availability of Family-PACT insurance to minor patients; 21 (58.3%) was aware that the clinic provided resources for domestic abuse or intimate partner violence, and 20 (55.5%) was aware that the clinic offered resources for mental health (such as anxiety or depression) or alcohol/drug abuse to minor patients.

Discussion

In this pilot study, about half of the front desk staff at the surveyed clinics in LA County did not know that the clinic is fully authorized and equipped to provide mental health services to the minors (patients under 18 years of age). These are missed opportunities. There is a need for better education of the front-desk personnel.

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Acknowledgements

We thank Dr. Kristin Meyer, from LA County Department of Public Health, for her guidance and partnership. MiOra is a 501(c)(3) organization. This work is funded in part by a grant from the California Wellness Foundation (Cal Wellness). The foundation’s mission is to improve the health of Californians. Cal Wellness is dedicated to promoting equity through advocacy and access.

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Correspondence to Michelle Seu.

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Appendix 1

Appendix 1

figurea

Answer key:

  1. 1.

    No age minimum

  2. 2.

    12+ years

  3. 3.

    Enroll them in Family-PACT

  4. 4.

    Answers may vary

  5. 5.

    Answers may vary

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Seu, M., Lopez, D., Nave, M. et al. Assessing Front Office Staff Awareness on Mental Health Resources at Youth Friendly Clinics in Los Angeles County. Community Ment Health J 56, 1544–1548 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10597-020-00604-9

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Keywords

  • Youth
  • Mental health
  • Community clinic
  • Los Angeles County
  • Front Office staff
  • Education