Cover: Connections to Care (C2C)

Connections to Care (C2C)

The Perspectives of Leaders at Community-Based Organizations That Are Integrating Mental Health Supports

Published Dec 15, 2017

by Michael S. Dunbar, Vivian L. Towe, Lynsay Ayer, Monique Martineau

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Research Question

  1. What are the perspectives of community-based organization leaders on the experience of launching Connections to Care (C2C) at their organizations?

The mental health system often does not reach all individuals who need mental health services. The Connections to Care (C2C) program, a $30 million public-private partnership under the federal Social Innovation Fund, with oversight from the C2C Collaborative, aims to address this problem by reaching up to 40,000 New Yorkers over five years by encouraging formal collaborations between community-based organizations (CBOs) and mental health providers (MHPs). In the C2C task-shifting model, mental health specialists equip non-specialist direct service staff at CBOs with the skills to deliver nonmedical mental health services while also facilitating referrals for more intensive care, if needed. By the end of the first year of C2C implementation, CBOs had contracted with MHPs, and together they developed operational plans, and delivered C2C services to over 4,000 CBO clients. The RAND Corporation is evaluating the results of the C2C program from three vantage points: the effect of C2C on participating clients, relative to a comparison group of New Yorkers not receiving C2C services (impact); the program's implementation across different CBOs; and the effects of the program on government and CBO spending. The purpose of this brief research report is to present preliminary key findings from interviews with CBO leadership, conducted between June and August of 2017, which focused on CBO leaders' experiences launching C2C at their organizations. We share these findings to support CBOs and additional stakeholders in decisionmaking for C2C during the implementation phase. Other findings from the evaluation will be released as data become available.

Key Findings

  • As of August 2017, community-based organizations (CBOs) have begun to implement the Connections to Care (C2C) program, through staff training and coaching integrating mental health supports into the culture of the CBO and providing mental health services to clients.
  • Interviews with CBO leaders from all participating organizations show that, even in the early stages of the program, cultural attitudes toward mental health and approaches to clients have shifted within CBOs.
  • CBO leaders observed that proactively addressing CBO staff concerns and clearly defining roles between CBOs and mental health providers are factors that facilitate C2C implementation.
  • Addressing some commonly endorsed challenges, such as perceived burden on CBO direct service staff, mental health stigma, and client logistical needs, could facilitate the implementation of C2C.

The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Health.

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