Depression Screening at a Community Health Fair: Descriptives and Treatment Linkage

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

Health fairs are a cost-efficient platform for dissemination of preventive services to vulnerable populations. Effectiveness of depression screenings and associated treatment linkage via community health fairs warrants investigation.

METHODS

This study offers the first examination of a depression screening at a community health fair in 261 adult men (18–87 years). The PHQ-9 was administered via interview by graduate students and on-site psychiatric nurses were available for a brief consultation for those interested.

RESULTS

Over a quarter of participants screened positive for at least moderate depressive symptomatology. Of those who screened positive, 35.8% met with an on-site psychiatric nurse for a consultation. At six-month follow-up, none of the participants given a referral made an appointment at the community mental health agency.

CONCLUSION

This suggests the importance of providing on-site clinician consultations at health fairs and the need for a more coordinated system to schedule future appointments while at the event.

IMPACT STATEMENT

Community health fairs reach vulnerable populations, such as those who are uninsured and who have not spoken with a professional about mental health concerns. By conducting depression screening and providing onsite access to a mental health consultation at community health fairs, participants are better able to identify their depressive symptoms and are introduced to ways to treat depression.

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