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Mental Health Asset Maps

Written by Dr. Ramon Martinez III
Published on March 17, 2023
Research Highlights

Health care asset maps can help communities and first responders identify nearby resources and shortage areas.

Asset maps are most effective when they incorporate early and continuous community input and are regularly updated.

No states have a statutory requirement for an up-to-date, state-managed mental health asset map, but public-private partnerships create mental health asset maps in some regions.

Asset maps can identify existing and missing health resources.

Asset mapping is the community-driven cataloging of community services, resources, and unique strengths to identify regional capabilities and needs (RHIH 2023).

Asset maps help communities, social workers and behavioral health professionals identify collaborative interventions, create easily accessible reference tools for first responders, and identify coverage gaps and optimal service providers (NCFH 2021). Up-to-date asset maps require consistent community input and staff capacity. Asset maps alone do not resolve other barriers to resource utilization (e.g., transportation, cost; UCLA n.d).

  • Examples of asset maps include resources for disease management, fall intervention, substance use, interpersonal violence, health, and nutrition access (Tables 1 & 2; Lightfoot 2014; Luo 2023).

The U.S. Healthy People 2020 initiative published guidance for identifying experts, organizations, institutions, physical resources, and cultural aspects to create asset maps.

Healthcare asset maps can improve resource access & identify service gaps.

Communities in need of mental health services often report barriers like lack of availability and awareness of mental health services.

  • In one study, 24% of Veterans Affairs patients were aware of available mental health services and locations (Pyne 2019).

Examples of mental health priorities that could be included in asset maps are listed in Table 1.

Examples of how asset maps have improved mental health services are in Table 2.

MO has one comprehensive mental health asset document.

In MO, there is currently no interactive or consistently updated web asset map/tool that allows first responders to identify county-level services by type or target population.

  • Up-to-date maps from the Dept. of Mental Health describe general administrative areas and hospital locations, but no information on available services or capacity.

Missouri Foundation for Health published a document in 2021 with several behavioral health centers and their services (including both large metros and less populous areas), but it is not consistently updated.

First Call for Help has an online tool of mental health resources (abuse, housing, assault, and substance abuse services) however, few counties outside of Southeast MO are catalogued.

Other States

The CA Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission partners with a state nonprofit to maintain an interactive, county-level web map of behavioral health assets (CARE 2023).

While some communities have developed health asset maps, no state policies currently require development or maintenance of statewide, web-based health asset maps.

Existing studies do not look at health-related outcomes of asset maps after they have been successfully drafted by communities or governments (Luo 2023).


Asset mapping has also been used in the process of expanding broadband. For more information please read our Science Note on Vertical Assets for Fixed Wireless Internet.



Asset Mapping. UCLA Center For Health Policy Research. Retrieved from https://healthpolicy.ucla.edu/programs/health-data/trainings/documents/tw_cba20.pdf 

California County Crisis Continuum Asset Map. (2023). Crisis and Recovery Enhancement. Retrieved from https://care-mhsa.org/california-county-crisis-continuum-asset-map/ 

Collinson, B., & Best, D. (2019). Promoting recovery from substance misuse through engagement with community assets: asset based community engagement. Substance abuse: research and treatment, 13, 1178221819876575. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31598063/

Community Asset Mapping Guide. (2021). National Center for Farmworker Health. Retrieved from http://www.ncfh.org/uploads/3/8/6/8/38685499/ncfh_asset_mapping_tool.pdf 

Cutts, T., Langdon, S., Meza, F. R., Hochwalt, B., Pichardo-Geisinger, R., Sowell, B., . . . Jones, M. T. (2016). Community Health Asset Mapping Partnership Engages Hispanic/Latino Health Seekers and Providers. North Carolina Medical Journal, 77(3), 160-167. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27154880/

Find Help Database. First Call for Help. Retrieved from https://firstcallforhelpsemo.org/find-help/?county=694 

HealthyPeople 2020 - Brainstorm: Community Assets. (2020). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://www.healthypeople.gov/sites/default/files/BrainstormCommunity.pdf 

Healy, J., Ramirez, S., Knapp, M., & Johnson, C. (2023). Asset mapping score analysis: A novel public health research methodology applied to maternal and child health resources in New Orleans. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13690-023-01042-1

Identify Assets/Resources Available. (2023). Rural Health Information Hub. Retrieved from https://www.ruralhealthinfo.org/toolkits/rural-toolkit/1/asset-identification 

Kay, K., & Director, C.-E. (2019). Planning for health services for older adults living with frailty: Asset mapping of specialized geriatric services (SGS) in Ontario. Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario. https://rgps.on.ca/resources/planning-for-older-adults-living-with-frailty-sgs-asset-mapping-report/

Kratochvil, T. J., Keeler, H. J., & Davies, H. D. (2022). Asset-based Community" Response": A Model Promoting Effective Student–Community Engagement in Disaster Scenarios. Progress in community health partnerships: research, education, and action, 16(2), 59-68. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35912658/

Lightfoot, E., McCleary, J. S., & Lum, T. (2014). Asset Mapping as a Research Tool for Community-Based Participatory Research in Social Work. Social Work Research, 38(1), 59-64. https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svu001

Luo, Y., Ruggiano, N., Bolt, D., Witt, J. P., Anderson, M., Gray, J., & Jiang, Z. (2023). Community Asset Mapping in Public Health: A Review of Applications and Approaches. Soc Work Public Health, 38(3), 171-181. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35997365/

Missouri Behavioral Health System Asset Mapping Project. (2021). Missouri Foundation for Health. Retrieved from https://mffh.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/BH-Asset-MappingReport-FINAL.pdf 

Morgan, J. J., Bengochea, A., & Reed, J. (2022). Asset Mapping in Urban Environments to Support Students With Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Intervention in School and Clinic, 58(2), 100-109. https://doi.org/10.1177/10534512211051072

Nine Elements of Effective School Community Partnerships to Address Student Mental Health, Physical Health, and Overall Wellness. National Association of School Psychologists. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED593295.pdf 

Pyne, J. M., Kelly, P. A., Fischer, E. P., Miller, C. J., Wright, P., Zamora, K., . . . Fortney, J. C. (2019). Development of a perceived access inventory for community care mental healthcare Services for Veterans. Military Medicine, 184(7-8), e301-e308. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7521611/

Rajendiran, A., Primeau, C., & Cowper-Smith, Y. (2020). Youth Community Visioning in North & Centre Wellington, ON. http://hdl.handle.net/10214/17901

Smith, M. L., Towne, S. D., Motlagh, A. S., Smith, D. R., Boolani, A., Horel, S. A., & Ory, M. G. (2017). Programs and Place: Risk and Asset Mapping for Fall Prevention. Frontiers in Public Health, 5. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2017.00028

Suarez-Balcazar, Y., Early, A., Miranda, D. E., Marquez, H., Maldonado, A., & Garcia-Ramirez, M. (2022). Community-engaged asset mapping with Latinx immigrant families of youth with disabilities. American Journal of Community Psychology, 70(1-2), 89-101. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34963017/

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