Mental Health Partners Further Advances Health Equity Through Innovative Community Health Worker Program
New grant funding to help MHP expand behavioral health outreach program to communities across Colorado and nationwide
LAFAYETTE, Colo., February 9, 2023 – Mental Health Partners (MHP) was recently named a Colorado Community Health Alliance (CCHA) Community Incentive Program grant recipient. With this grant, MHP looks to take its innovative Community Health Worker (CHW) model to the next level by making it scalable so that it can be adopted and implemented in other communities across Colorado and nationwide.
Community Health Workers (also known nationally as Promotores) are common in primary care and public health, but few models exist in behavioral health. In 2019, MHP established one of the first behavioral health CHW programs by adapting core elements from the Promotora Model – such as use of an individual’s own life experience and knowledge to educate and help others in a culturally responsive way – with a strong foundation of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusivity.
“Our goal is for the CHW program to become a universally recognized model that other behavioral health providers and communities can replicate to improve health equity,” said Jennifer Hyder-Cannon, Outreach Program Manager for MHP’s Community Health Worker program.
Over the last 60 years, MHP has provided community-based behavioral health services to tens of thousands of individuals and families from all backgrounds, regardless of insurance status or ability to pay. Unfortunately, many community members and clients experience complex challenges with social determinants of health that impact their ability to seek care – including low income, homelessness, food insecurity, employment, education, access to transportation, and reliable internet access.
Through its CHW program, MHP meets clients where they are by bridging system gaps and connecting individuals and families to a broad range of health care and social determinants of health services, while also working with community partners to reduce systemic barriers and build community infrastructure that support overall population health. The CHW program meets community needs in a uniquely effective way by bringing resources to individuals regardless of background or socioeconomic status. This preventative approach, in turn, helps improve public health outcomes and lowers long-term healthcare costs for individuals and communities.
“A key to our success is that our CHWs are trusted members of the communities they serve,” said Cannon. “They represent the diverse target populations within our community, either through professional or lived experience.
CHW staff are specially trained to work with individuals and families who have or are at risk for mental health and/or substance use challenges, providing services such as community building, psychoeducation, outreach and engagement support, stigma-reduction training, system navigation, and direct assistance with accessing public benefit programs
With this Community Incentive Program grant provided by the Colorado Community Health Alliance (CCHA), MHP is well-positioned to be a leader in behavioral health outreach locally, statewide, and nationally.
“To successfully coordinate care and services for approximately 421,770 Health First Colorado members, we must build upon and maintain a network of strong community support,” said Amy Yutzy, Director of Medicaid Programs, Colorado Community Health Alliance. “Mental Health Partners aligns closely with CCHA’s goals and addresses social determinants of health. We are honored to support them as they strive to meet community needs, bridge system gaps, and connect individuals and families to a broad range of health care and social determinants of health services.”
Learn more about our Community Health Worker team.
About Mental Health Partners (MHP
MHP is a federally designated comprehensive community mental health center serving clients across Boulder and Broomfield counties as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Since opening in Boulder in 1962, MHP has expanded to multiple communities (including Lafayette, Longmont, Broomfield and, most recently, Nederland) to meet the region’s growing mental health needs and better accomplish its mission — Healing is our purpose. Help is our promise. Health is our passion. MHP is one of four SAMHSA Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) grantees in Colorado, several of which are attempting to implement a similar health outreach program in their communities.
About Colorado Community Health Alliance (CCHA)
CCHA was founded in 2010 specifically to meet the needs of Health First Colorado (Colorado’s Medicaid Program) members. CCHA uses innovative solutions to expand access to physical and behavioral health services, promote a more coordinated system of care, improve quality of care, and reduce avoidable costs for approximately 303,000 members in Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, El Paso, Gilpin, Jefferson, Park and Teller counties. Learn more at CCHAcares.com.