Integration of Behavioral Health and Primary Care

This project helps community mental health centers create a mutually beneficial relationship with community health centers in their community, specifically for those working in and with traditionally underserved communities. 



  • For community mental health centers (CMHCs) to increase referrals to community health centers (CHCs),
  • Create a structure that ensures collaborative care for shared patients, and
  • Increase clients’ access to primary care services.

Population Addressed: CHC-CMHC teams working in and with traditionally undeserved communities

Rationale and Relevance:

  • It has been shown that members of ethnically and racially diverse communities are more likely to seek care from a primary care organization than from a mental health center.
  • Developing a symbiotic relationship with CMHCs and CHCs increases opportunities for members of racial and ethnic groups to access appropriate services that address their needs, thus increasing the likelihood of eliminating some level of disparities in mental healthcare.

Projected Outcomes:

  • This project will employ a Learning Collaborative model, in which primary care and specialty mental health teams from the selected sites will convene in an initial Learning Session.
  • During this session, participants will receive clinical education materials and training, review the project outcome metrics, and plan their initial approach to achieving the goals.
  • Participating sites will identify policy barriers that impede collaboration and integration of primary and behavioral healthcare.
  • This information will then be used to bridge policy gaps through the development of resources that analyze, synthesize and propose options for improving sustainability and replication of collaborative relationships between CMHCs and CHCs


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