Outreach through information dissemination and health screenings in new locations throughout the community was an important new educational approach for Fall River. The locations used to host the screenings encompassed a wide range of community sites including the Career Center, the community college, the Family Health Center, the Government Center, Veterans Center, juvenile courts and community locations such as the farmer's market, neighborhood associations, and special community events like "Fun Days" designed to draw in a wide variety of residents.
Many residents who were screened in the moderate risk range and were unemployed or underemployed were eligible to receive services and were referred into the case management program and for behavioral and substance use program interventions. Project staff found that many of these enrollees had never received behavioral health services, and so were unaware of the resources available for depression and substance use disorders. One of the unique aspects of this CRRI site is that the city represents cultural and language diversity with a significant Portuguese population, (12 percent of those screened were Portuguese compared to 6 percent Black, 6 percent Latino).
Marketing and Outreach to Community: SSTAR staff developed new and significant marketing skills as a result of their participation in the CRRI project. Marketing efforts included the development of print media items, such as brochures, flyers, newsletters, and advertisement in other organizational partners' newsletters to publicize the project. Staff also became proficient in the use of a variety of social media as they created Facebook, You Tube and Twitter accounts which were linked and heavily networked through Facebook. They also completed seven 30-second public service announcements and two 60-second commercials for Internet use. Other marketing materials developed by the communication team included one longer (8 minute) video detailing Project ASSIST, a running project blog on MyFallRiver.org, and a blog called Changing Times in conjunction with the local newspaper.
Community Screening: The first screening site was STARR's Family Health Care Center, a FQHC. Further screening was conducted at a wide range of agencies and community sites as noted above. Staff also coordinated screening at community events in high poverty areas, and at two shopping malls.
One of the key accomplishments noted by the project staff was using SBIRT to screen community residents for behavioral health issues. During the screening process, Fall River residents were screened for substance use, depression, and anxiety by using the PHQ-9, CAGE-AID and the GAD-7. Such widespread screening was new for SSTAR, although project staff were incredibly successful at it. In fact, the project goal was to screen 5 percent of the city's population; by the time screening came to a close, staff had screened 5,808 persons which is 6.3 percent of the population. Importantly, interviewees noted during the Year 3 site visit that the data from screenings will be a valuable resource for future planning.
Project staff reported that the combination of the marketing, the outreach and screening activities initiated discussions with community residents and they feel this has helped to mitigate the stigma of seeking help for mental health and substance use issues. The screening revealed a larger percentage of respondents who noted a need to "refer to higher level of care" and more clients with behavioral health issues were identified. Staff report that since the 30 percent of screening was conducted at the SSTAR FQHC this may have yielded more clients with behavioral health issues.