To improve mental health services and outcomes in northern New Jersey by enhancing the cultural competence of mental health professionals and their organizations.
Why we do what we do?
While cultural competence is critical to an effective mental health system, agencies often struggle to find the time and resources to improve organizational cultural competence.
Research shows that cultural competence improves/increases/enhances mental health providers’ capacity to:
- Respond to current and projected demographic changes
- Foster social justice
- Eliminate disparities in the mental health status of people of diverse racial, ethnic and cultural groups
- Improve the quality of their services and outcomes
Culture Connections’ approach to cultural competence has evolved from Family Connections own journey toward cultural competence, which began in 2006 with the formation of our Cultural Competence Committee (CCC). As part of the Agency’s Quality Improvement Program, the CCC grew out of our staff’s desire to improve cultural awareness and sensitivity for both staff and consumers. In 2011, The NJ Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services, recognizing our efforts to build cultural competence into our organizational fabric, funded Culture Connections and encouraged licensed agencies to engage in creating plans that utilize the CLAS standards to grow in their cultural competence journey.
Culture Connections emphasizes viewing cultural competence not as an add-on, but as a vital, core component of any mental health organization’s mission.