Child & Adolescent Mental Health Initiative (CAMHI)
“We do not merely have a social responsibility to assure that our children and youth have decent life chances and prosper. We have a sacred obligation to do so.” —Hubie Jones, Founder, Massachusetts Advocates for Children
Meeting the Need
Racial and ethnic minorities represent 30% of the U.S. population; yet, more than 80% of mental health professionals identify as non-Hispanic White. The relative scarcity of providers who are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds contributes to significant disparities in access to and utilization of mental health services (SAMHSA, 2018). A more diverse behavioral health workforce is needed to ensure that culturally competent care is available for all people.
The William James College Child & Adolescent Mental Health Initiative aims to address this unmet need by expanding and diversifying the child and adolescent behavioral health workforce through the development, implementation and evaluation of an innovative pipeline program focused on cultivating and educating culturally compassionate providers.
Core Program Components
Over a three-year period (2019-2022), William James College will:
- Provide educational programs for 900 high school students from the Boston Public Schools, with a focus on reducing stigma around mental illness, promoting mental health literacy, and increasing access to college and behavioral health career exploration and employment opportunities.
- Offer scholarships and academic training to 40 community college students or employees of eligible partners who are interested in completing their Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Human Services at William James College. Qualified students are individuals who come from historically marginalized or low-income backgrounds, are first-generation college students or are underrepresented minorities in the behavioral health field.
- Facilitate mental health literacy and career awareness workshops for 45 individuals (e.g., community college students at the Associate degree level, support and milieu staff, and paraprofessionals in community-based human services agencies) through week-long summer institutes designed to reduce stigma, increase knowledge of and improve attitudes about mental illness, and promote greater understanding and interest in pursuing behavioral health careers.
- Collaborate with educational and employer partners to recruit, train and retain a multicultural behavioral health workforce. Through this partnership, the program seeks to create academic pathways, link graduates to career opportunities in the Greater Boston area, and develop and disseminate behavioral health career promotional materials about the mental health needs of children, adolescents and families.
The William James College Child & Adolescent Mental Health Initiative is generously supported by a grant from the Boston Children’s Collaboration for Community Health.