The Connecticut Latino Behavioral Health System: A Culturally Informed Community–Academic Collaboration

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Abstract

The Connecticut Latino Behavioral Health System (LBHS) represents a culturally informed community–academic collaboration that includes agencies focused on mental health, addictions, behavioral health within community health centers, and social rehabilitation; the Yale University Department of Psychiatry; and the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The core mission of the LBHS is to expand and enhance the provision of recovery-oriented, and culturally and linguistically appropriate, services to the monolingual Spanish-speaking community in parts of South Central Connecticut. This article outlines the rationale and need for such a collaboration to meet the needs of an underrepresented and underserved ethnic minority group. The process by which these entities came together to develop and successfully implement systemic strategies is described in the context of 2 overarching priorities: (a) workforce development, and (b) access to services. The authors also highlight lessons learned that have informed the decision-making process since the inception of the LBHS, and future directions to ensure that it is prepared to meet changing consumer needs and systemic priorities.

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