Success with CHWs: Mental Health Services

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mayo1There are many approaches to integrating a CHW into your care model depending on your current resources, needs and program goals. To ensure that a CHW is a good fit for your organization, you will want to develop:

  • Needs assessment (identify gaps that can be met by a CHW)
  • Sustainability plan that includes:
    • Financing
    • Credentialing
    • Evaluation

The Rural Assistance Center offers an online toolkit to help to evaluate opportunities for developing a CHW program and provides resources and best practices developed by successful CHW programs.

The use of community health workers (CHW) and promotores de salud is on the rise across the country in urban, rural, and in many towns along the U.S./Mexico border. They work with diverse racial, ethnic and linguistic groups to promote health and behavioral health, and serve as cultural brokers that bridge patients and community health providers (Waitzkin et al., 2010; Williams, 2001). Also known as community lay workers, outreach workers, patient navigators, lay health educators, as well as many other titles, they represent trusted members of the community that are recruited to provide health education and screening services in underserved ethnic communities (Office of Minority Health, 2012; Waitzkin et al., 2010).

Source: Sanchez, K., Chapa, T., Ybarra, R., & Martinez, O. N., (2012). Eliminating Disparities through the Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care Services for Racial and Ethnic Minorities, Including Populations with Limited English Proficiency: A Review of the Literature. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health and the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.