Whittier Street Health Center Launches Behavioral Health Mobile Screenings

In an effort to address mental health and substance abuse issues, Whittier Street Health Center, a community health center with a mission to serve as a center of excellence that provides high quality and accessible health care and social services that achieve health equity, social justice, and the economic well-being of a diverse patient population, recently added mental health screenings to their Mobile Unit outreach offerings.

Depression and substance misuse screenings are part of Whittier’s outreach-focused Mobile Health Program designed to meet individuals where they live, and to engage, educate and empower them to transform and improve their lives. A fleet of four health vans allow Whittier the capability to provide routine and preventative primary care services and screenings in an effort to close the gaps in life expectancies for low-income communities of color and immigrant populations.

“Depression can present itself in numerous ways, including feelings of sadness, loneliness, agitation, and worthlessness and are sometimes accompanied by physical symptoms,” said Carolyn Reynolds, Whittier’s associate director of behavioral health adult and substance abuse services, noting that while identifying those with depression can be difficult in busy primary care settings where time is limited, depression screenings can go a long way toward helping physicians diagnose and appropriately treat the disorder.

The staff has a depression safety protocol in place for patients that score positive for suicidality.  Screening can likewise assess the severity of substance misuse and abuse, opening the door to proper treatment.  The Early Support in Recovery drop-in program is one resource available for anyone who scores positive for substance misuse.

Said Brenda Daley, associate director of behavioral health child and family services, “Mental health and substance issues have particularly impacted youth over the past several years, with many still struggling to find their social footing after lengthy spans of isolation resulting from the pandemic.”

“People dealing with mental health and substance misuse issues often seclude themselves, further impacting their self-esteem, relationships, resilience and more,” said Frederica M. Williams, president and CEO of Whittier Street Health Center. “Our Mobile Health Program was created to go directly to those who need our help.”

If interested in learning more about Whittier’s Mobile Health Program can contact the Mobile Health Care Team at 617-989-3212.

About Whittier Street Health Center

Whittier Street Health Center is an independently licensed community health care center with a mission of providing high quality, reliable and accessible primary healthcare for diverse populations while promoting wellness and eliminating health and social disparities. A champion of equitable access to high quality, patient-focused care, social justice and economic equity, Whittier Street Health Center is accredited by The Joint Commission (TJC), certified by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) as a Patient-Centered Medical Home, and recognized by the NCQA for its Behavioral Health Integration. Through its locations in Roxbury and North Dorchester, and its Mobile Health Van program, Whittier Street Health Center serves more than 30,000 patients and 20,000 community outreach visits annually; its ethnically and racially diverse patient base is primarily made up of individuals from Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, the South End and greater Boston. Approximately 28% of Whittier’s patients are uninsured. Whittier Street Health Center provides a comprehensive array of 40 healthcare programs and services designed to meet the primary health care, behavioral health, and social needs of the community. For more information, please visit www.wshc.org as well as Facebook (www.facebook.com/WhittierStreetHealthCenter), Twitter (@Whittier_Boston), or LinkedIn (https://www.linkedin.com/company/whittier-street-health-center), or call 617-989-3221.