NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There’s a new vehicle driving through New Haven County, bringing health care services to people in underserved populations.

The Wellness on Wheels (WOW) Program is run by Bridges Healthcare Inc. The WOW van is allowing Connecticut residents in underprivileged communities to get health screenings and care for mental health concerns for the first time in years.

People who do not have health insurance can also be seen streetside by the grant-funded program. This is often the case for WOW patients, who may be undocumented and face difficulties reaching out for health treatment.

“[It] helps eliminate barriers for people who are not getting primary healthcare services for a number of reasons like transportation, they aren’t comfortable in an office setting and then we help connect them with more long-term care,” said Debra Daly Gannon, the project director for Wellness on Wheels.

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Daly Gannon said it can be difficult for people suffering to take that step to get help and the WOW van makes that easier.

“We know that individuals who are diagnosed with a mental health or substance-use condition tend to die at an earlier age because of untreated preventable diseases and conditions,” she said. “I think there are still a high number of people in the community that don’t reach out for the care they need so our goal is to really reach those people and help with the health equity,”

Wellness on Wheels goes beyond health equity by connecting and helping patients with any services they could need.

“I also help them fill out applications for SNAP or Medicaid, food pantries, or where they can find food,” said Jessica Villarini, a medical assistant for Wellness on Wheels. “I fill out applications for housing, you name it.”

The WOW van operates on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.