Transportation and other social needs as markers of mental health conditions

Rachel Garg, Serena N. Muhammad, Leopoldo J. Cabassa, Amy McQueen, Niko Verdecias, Regina Greer, Matthew W. Kreuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The study sought to determine whether reporting a history of depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, drug or alcohol use disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia, or current depressive symptoms was associated with requesting help for any of 12 social needs. Methods: A community-based sample of 1,944 low-income adult smokers in Missouri who had called a telephone helpline for social needs were recruited between June 1, 2017 and November 15, 2020. Helpline data on callers’ requests for assistance with utilities, housing, food, household goods, healthcare, transportation, adult care, financial assistance, employment, legal assistance, personal safety and childcare were merged with self-reported mental health data collected in a subsequent phone survey with the same callers. Using binary logistic regression, we examined which mental health conditions were associated with each social need. Results: Reporting mental health conditions were associated with greater odds of requests for assistance with transportation, food, healthcare and personal safety. Of these, the strongest and most consistent associations were with transportation needs. In post-hoc analyses, most associations between transportation needs and mental health remained significant after adjusting for possible confounders. Conclusions: Compared to participants who did not report histories of mental health conditions, those who reported mental health conditions were more likely to call 2-1-1 seeking transportation assistance. Community-based agencies providing transportation or mental health services could partner to provide linkages between services and increase capacity to address transportation and mental health needs.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101357
JournalJournal of Transport and Health
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • Community-based
  • Low-income
  • Mental health
  • Social needs
  • Transportation assistance


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