Northeast Delta HSA Releases Results of Region’s Food Insecurity Survey

“Not having sufficient food is a negative social determinant of health, and is highly correlated with mental illness, primary health care problems, addiction, limited income, and others social drivers.” – Dr. Sizer

Northeast Delta Human Services Authority (NEDHSA) announces the results of its Mental Health and Food Insecurity Assessment. NEDHSA conducted the study to provide insight into the region’s needs regarding food insecurity, food inadequacy, mental health, and addictive disorder services. The information used from the report will allow NEDHSA to serve its patients better and improve its award-winning integrated care model and network, which addresses negative social determinants of health.

NEDHSA Executive Director Dr. Monteic A. Sizer said the results of the survey “helps us to better understand the challenges of our patients and the general public when it comes to food insecurity, mental illness, primary care, addiction, and negative social determinants of health.”

“We knew this study would be an opportunity for us to assess just how large and complex the problems were regarding the food insecurity and related social and psychological difficulties our patients were presenting clinically,” Dr. Sizer said. “Not having sufficient food is a negative social determinant of health, and is highly correlated with mental illness, primary health care problems, addiction, limited income, and others social drivers.”

The report contains data from the survey collected from November 4, 2022, to March 2, 2022. All assessments were completed either on paper, by telephone, or online through Google Forms. Individuals over the age of 18 completed the assessment voluntarily responding to areas such as demographics; personal relationships and living situation; employment; resource concerns, including household finances, food security, healthcare, and mental and behavioral health status. The study found that 49% of the total respondents have some level of anxiety, 52% have some level of depression, and 90% are food insecure at some level.

NEDHSA Director of Behavioral and Primary Health Analytics Dr. Dependra Bhatta said “our results provide an overview of mental health, physical health, and food insecurity concerns.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly accelerated food insecurity, depression, and anxiety across the region,” Dr. Bhatta said. “Depression, anxiety, and food insecurity are severe among individuals with low income, unemployment, and trauma violence experience.”

Improving the physical health status of people with mental illnesses and addictions is one of NEDHSA’s objectives. NEDHSA’s integrated model goes further than traditional clinical models as the agency has added housing, food, education, transportation, workforce development, and prevention and wellness strategies to its service options.

Dr. Sizer added: “I established our analytics department to help us measure the outcomes and efficiencies of our internal operations and our patients. The data contained within the report highlights our data-driven, outcomes-based approach to our collective work. With this data focus and our commitment to continuous improvement, we are well on our way to further transforming our region and the lives of those we serve. “

To view the report, click the following link: Mental Health and Food Insecurity Assessment

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