NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF STATE MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM DIRECTORS

Position Statement on Culturally Competent andLinguistically Appropriate
Mental Health Services

Cultural and Linguistic Competence Coordinators' Network For State, and Territorial Behavioral Health Services (State CLC Coordinators' Network)

Introduction and Rationale

The growing diversity of the nation and the greater awareness of the role of culture in effective behavioral health service delivery are stimulating the need for thoughtful, strategic planning to promote and advance cultural and linguistic competence at the state behavioral health systems level. However, the implementation of meaningful system change is a challenging process because of the complexity and enormity of the task, attitudinal resistance, and limited resources devoted to cultural and linguistic competence and the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities. Indeed, the promotion and advancement of cultural and linguistic competence requires a transformation of the system that few are prepared to address. Some state and territorial mental health and substance abuse and addictions departments have established dedicated positions or personnel to promote and advance appropriate services for the multicultural populations of that state or territory. Other public systems that provide mental health services such as child welfare or justice have also developed dedicated positions or personnel for the same purpose. These persons are faced with tremendous responsibilities, but often find themselves without the full extent of support that is needed to be successful. The Cultural and Linguistic Competence Coordinators' Network for State and Territorial Behavioral Health Services (State CLC Coordinators' Network) will address this growing need for information sharing and support.

Mission

To establish a network among state and territorial behavioral health system cultural and linguistic competence coordinators to promote growth in management skills, enrich cultural knowledge, and provide an avenue for peer support. Additionally, this network will facilitate stronger links to state tribal liaisons and state child, youth and family directors within state and territorial systems.

Membership

Members of the network will include managers of cultural and linguistic competence or multicultural services, tribal liaisons, and other key personnel who are addressing racial/ethnic/cultural disparities in state or territorial behavioral health systems.  Similarly any person with related functions at the state or territorial l level who addresses the behavioral health needs of children and youth within or external to the mental health department. (This addition is included in recognition that in some states the responsibility for mental health services for children and youth is located in a structure other than the mental health department.)

Auspice/Hosts

The National TA Center for Children's Mental Health and the National Center for Cultural Competence of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development and NASMHPD provide mechanisms for support and technical assistance for cultural and linguistic competence coordinators. This is consistent with the Systems of Care approach to service delivery and with NASMHPD's Position Statement on Culturally Competent and Linguistically Appropriate Mental Health Services (June 6, 2000). Although specific job titles vary, the short name for this group will be The State CLC Coordinators' Network.

Activities

The network may include such activities as topical conference calls with guest presenters, peer-to-peer conference calls, list serv for problem-solving and resource and information exchange. Other activities may be possible as the group evolves.