In response to the urgent need for youth mental health interventions during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Collaborative, which includes researchers from the Center for Innovation in Mental Health (CIMH) at CUNY SPH, has launched a program focused on providing increased mental health support and resources to young people in neighborhoods that have been disproportionately affected by the virus.
The program, Connections to Care: Building Resilience in Youth (C2C: BRY), was developed to support community-based organizations (CBOs) and address the need for youth mental health services in New York City. Its primary goal is to help increase the capacity of CBOs to work with youth ages 13-21 years and improve their mental health and wellness through technical assistance, training and peer support via a learning collaborative.
CBO staff will be trained in team-based mental health task-sharing and coached by mental health providers in skills including: community mental health outreach, screening for mental health concerns, risk assessment, client education, stress management skills training and warm referrals to mental health care providers. Training will be offered via easily accessible online videos in addition to live webinars and limited in-person workshops and will be co-led by CIMH clinical psychologists and psychiatrists and OCET trainers.
After the training period, cross-site learning collaborative meetings will be offered to support continuous quality improvement and share resources to promote strategies for effective implementation and sustainment of the program. The learning collaborative will facilitate a learning network for peer-to-peer knowledge exchange, provide opportunities to strengthen partnerships across the community, and support a professional community focused on youth and community resilience.
“The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on all of us, but it seems to have especially impacted our young people,” says CUNY SPH Associate Professor Victoria Ngo, the project’s director. “We hope this program will fortify the resources we already have in place to help young people get the mental health support they need.”
C2C:BRY is supported by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Collaborative, which is led by DOHMH and consists of the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, the Center for Innovation in Mental Health (CIMH) at CUNY SPH, The Academy for Community Behavioral Health at the CUNY School of Professional Studies and Public Health Solutions.