Objective: To examine how the COVID-19 Project ECHO program may have influenced the mental health of community health workers (CHWs) from South Texas. The program was designed around case-based learning and mentorship to provide support to CHWs and help them gain expertise to provide services to their communities. Design: An explanatory sequential mixed methods pilot study. Sample: Fifteen CHWs who were enrolled in the program participated in this study. Measurements: The Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression (CES-D) and the Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) were used to measure the differences pre- and post-intervention. Qualitative description was used to explore the experiences of the participating CHWs. Results: The PSS post-test mean (12.53) showed a statistically significant decrease from the pretest mean (17.01) (t (14 = 2.456, p =.028). The CHWs explained that the death of loved ones, feelings of isolation, and work-related concerns influenced their mental health. CHWs expressed that the program provided them with emotional support and resources for their clients. Conclusions: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on disadvantaged and medically underserved areas will be long-lasting; therefore, the need is greater than ever for CHWs to receive mental health support and be able to connect communities with vital resources.
- community health workers
- mental health
- project ECHO
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health