Cover: Evaluation of Outcomes of Fresno County's Mental Health Prevention Programs

Evaluation of Outcomes of Fresno County's Mental Health Prevention Programs

Published Jun 28, 2024

by J. Scott Ashwood, Nicole K. Eberhart, Stephanie Williamson, Amy L. Shearer

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California's prevention and early intervention (PEI) regulations state that county departments of behavioral health should measure appropriate outcomes and indicators, but the regulations do not provide specific guidance on which outcomes to measure and how to measure them. Many counties have struggled to measure PEI outcomes, in part because prevention programs often do not use electronic health records to capture participant data. To address this challenge, the Fresno County Department of Behavioral Health engaged a RAND evaluation team to design a web-based data collection tool for its prevention programs. This report summarizes initial results from early data collected via this new tool from four prevention programs that piloted it. The data indicate that the programs serve a diverse, high-needs population. Youth and adults alike experienced challenges in various domains: They had low self-efficacy, high perceived stress, low social support, and low overall life satisfaction. Adults also reported low mental health knowledge and difficulty functioning because of emotional issues.

Key Findings

  • The participating county prevention programs serve a diverse population that experiences serious challenges with mental health and life functioning.
  • Youth and adults alike experienced challenges in various domains: They had low self-efficacy, high perceived stress, low social support, and low overall life satisfaction.
  • Adults served by these programs also reported low mental health knowledge and difficulty functioning in their day-to-day lives because of emotional issues.

Research conducted by

This research was funded by the California Mental Health Services Authority and carried out within the Access and Delivery Program in RAND Health Care.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

RAND is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.