211 is in the unique position to alleviate some of the stress associated with seeking Health, Education and Financial Stability resources. Through Ride United Transportation Access and Ride United Last Mile Delivery, 211 can help remove access barriers by providing transportation. When people call 211, they are in need of a service and often don’t know where else to turn for help.
Being in a situation where you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, or how you can afford your medical bills, or how to navigate new systems as a refugee with language barriers can be very stress inducing. When Lucy, a 20-year-old in Richmond, called 211 with concerns about picking up medication for her mental health condition, we were able to help. Lucy said that as a survivor of domestic abuse, it’s difficult to walk or take public transportation by herself. Ride United was able to take her to the pharmacy and offer resources for longer term transportation.
Through Ride United, 211 can help people like Greta, an unhoused community member in Colorado. With access to transportation, Greta was able to seek help from a behavioral health specialist at the recommendation of her therapist. We can help community members like Robert, a veteran in Nevada, get roundtrip rides to the VA for medical appointments. Robert said, “I was feeling anxious and I suffer from PTSD. The safe and efficient transportation makes my life so much easier – it means the world to me.” As we’re nearing the end of Mental Health Awareness Month, it is important to continue to advocate for mental health care systems beyond May.
In 2017, 5.8 million Americans reported that transportation barriers prevented them from seeking medical services and these barriers look different for many people. Transportation barriers can result in missed appointments where people can’t get the medical attention they need. Ride United not only helps community members who need access to mental health services, but it also helps alleviate the stress and anxiety associated with lack of transportation. United Way strives to promote the wellbeing of every individual in every community and having access to safe and reliable transportation is necessary for living a healthy life.