An Important Community Resource: 2-1-1 San Diego

For those of us working in health care, we are increasingly aware that many of the health challenges our patients face are rooted in the social, economic and environmental context in which they live.  Access to healthcare services is only one piece of the puzzle for our patients to achieve better health.

There are numerous studies that highlight the key factors that can negatively impact health outcomes:

  1. housing instability and quality
  2. food insecurity
  3. utility needs
  4. interpersonal violence and
  5. transportation needs.

While we are aware these issues impact overall health, we often have little time or knowledge to delve into problem solving these significant and complex challenges facing many of our patients.

2-1-1 San Diego is a resource that can take the time to understand each individual’s situation and link those in need with those who can best help.

What is 2-1-1 San Diego?

2-1-1 is a local private, non-profit organization that serves San Diego and Imperial Counties whose mission is to serve as a nexus to bring the community (organizations) together to help people efficiently get appropriate services, and provide vital data and trend information for proactive community planning.  A free, 24 hour, confidential phone service and searchable online database, 2-1-1 connects people quickly, confidentially and effectively to community, health, and disaster services. Available in over 200 languages, 2-1-1 provides information about more than 6,000 resources.

2-1-1 San Diego’s has a number of locally unique programs offering connections to health and wellness services, benefit program enrollment assistance, food assistance, housing and utilities resources, military and veteran services, and serving as a reputable, up-to-date, non-emergency information source during disasters.  Well over 400,000 connections are made each year through the 2-1-1 system.

Every hour of every day, people in San Diego County are searching for services and resources to build, improve and sustain healthy lifestyles, from substance abuse treatment to care for a child or aging parent, food, housing or financial assistance.  When clients call, they are connected to a live, Client Service Representatives (CSR) who will navigate them through their situations by assessing their needs and then matching them to the best and closest resources for them.

With so many health and human resource programs available in San Diego County, the task can seem insurmountable and confusing for all of us.  This is where 2-1-1 can help.

2-1-1’s Health Navigation offers comprehensive needs assessments, health education, case planning, advocacy, connection to resources, and ongoing care coordination.  Often serving as an advocate for callers, their Health Navigators identify supportive resources that can help with getting access to care, specialty needs like breast health resources, bill assistance, prescription access, and much more.

Breaking down barriers to access basic resources ultimately improves the mental, physical and social health of each patient and our community as a whole.  When faced with patient needs beyond our immediate scope of expertise and/or ability to search, we have a reliable and comprehensive resource for our patients in 2-1-1 San Diego.

For more information

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