People suffering from serious mental illness have a high need for good quality patient care. They also have less access to it. Healthcare in the United States is expensive, complicated, and not always designed around helping those with the highest need.
Mobile mental health clinics eliminate many of these problems by bringing care directly to the patients. In this article, we look at a few of the ways they provide better care than the brick and mortar alternatives.
The American healthcare dichotomy
The United States has one of the most expensive and, at least on paper, least effective developed healthcare systems on the planet. Countries with comparable access to healthcare technology pay less and experience better healthcare outcomes than Americans.
Mobile healthcare technology of all kinds is there to bridge some of that service gap, taking care directly to patients in a way that is affordable, accessible, and immediate.
Mobile healthcare technology is currently being applied to all forms of treatment including vaccine outreach and general treatments. In the context of mental health treatments, it holds a particularly significant potential to do good for a drastically underserved community.
One of the main barriers to mental health treatment is social stigma. People with mental health problems are often viewed as dangerous or unstable, leading people who suffer these conditions to avoid treatment so as not to be associated with the stigma.
Mobile health clinics break down barriers by making it slightly easier to take that first step. They can go to areas of high need, and attract patients with discreet, private treatment areas.
Mobile mental health clinics are also advantaged by their flexibility. Mobile units are usually designed to be easily adjusted so that caregivers can alter their set up to meet the needs of the community they are serving. This heightened degree of flexibility makes it easier for them to adjust based on need.
A unit could contain rooms for family counseling one day, then be modified for private screenings or physical examinations the next.
Mobile healthcare units are potentially more accessible than brick-and-mortar offices. Physicians strategize the location of their units, picking places that can be easily reached on foot, or by public transportation.
People with serious mental illness often lack reliable access to private transportation, which in turn often exacerbates their condition by making them feel isolated. Mobile healthcare units circumnavigate this problem by making treatment more accessible and in turn boosting patient engagement.
Finally, mobile healthcare units are also more affordable than traditional forms of treatment. Some studies have suggested that traditional trips to a mental healthcare provider can cost up to twelve times more than mobile care.
This is a significant difference for anyone but can be particularly impactful for people suffering from mental illness. People suffering from mental illness make 30% less than the median average salary and are also less likely to have health insurance.
For many, affordable alternatives may be the only way to get high-quality care.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.