Wellbeing (e.g. Youth, Community, Mental)
Sharing Session - 30 Minutes
Background: Reducing population-level chronic disease burden may require consideration of factors that extend beyond structural improvements to food and physical environments. This presentation describes a geospatial landscape needs assessment conducted by the Los Angeles County (LAC) Department of Public Health (DPH) to better understand the regional distribution (including any overlaps) between stressful community contexts, poor emotional health, health risk behaviors, and availability of mental health supports at the local level.
Methods: DPH examined geographic overlap(s) between economic hardship (stressful community contexts) and: (1) psychological distress (poor emotional health); (2) soda consumption (health risk behaviors); (3) density of individual behavioral health providers; and (4) availability of mental health supports. All data (collected between 2014—2018) were imported to ArcGIS version 10.3.1 (Esri). This software was used to create two-by-two choropleth maps comparing geographic distributions of community-level economic hardship and variables of interest.
Results: There was a discordance between the hardship levels and key variables of interest, especially within and across some Service Planning Areas. Discordance between levels was more pronounced for behavioral health providers than for mental health facilities, suggesting that facility availability does not necessarily correspond to having a high provider density. Overall, a shortage of behavioral health providers was observed.
Discussion: LAC represents an important case study because it is one of the most populous (>10 million people) and racially/ethnically diverse counties in the United States. This information has the potential to inform policies or decisions that may affect the overall well-being of priority populations at the local level.