Mental Health

CAI is dedicated to ensuring that more people can access mental health services. We do this by building the capacity of health care providers and others to identify at-risk individuals, address behavioral health treatment stigma and other barriers, and improve engagement in behavioral health treatment. This includes extensive work to improve access and treatment for people living with HIV and other chronic diseases, those with substance use disorders, and pregnant and postpartum women.

All of our mental health work recognizes and addresses the effects of trauma. We have developed a comprehensive training and capacity-building program for trauma-informed care: Establishing a Culture of Trauma-Informed Care and Offering Skills-Based Trauma Informed Services. This program helps providers make organizational and programmatic changes to understand, recognize, and respond to the effects of all types of trauma. CAI’s model for integrating trauma-informed care is currently being implemented across all Ryan White HIV/AIDS programs in New Jersey as the state’s HIV Trauma Informed Care Project; through the Trauma Informed Overdose Data to Action project for harm reduction centers, emergency medical services, and community health workers in maternal and child health across New Jersey, funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); in Federally Qualified Health Centers, harm reduction centers, and health homes in New York City; and at the University of Alabama at Birmingham 1917 Clinic.

Our trauma-informed approach emphasizes education and awareness for staff and clients, establishing a culture that supports healing, facilitates the delivery of services with a trauma-informed lens, and uses skills-based approaches for clients to address their trauma symptoms. We help foster a healing environment and use evidence-based practices to help patients learn how their past experiences may impact their daily lives, build their capacity to self-regulate, and develop plans to free themselves from the ongoing impact of traumatic events. CAI’s work addressing trauma began nearly two decades ago with support from the September 11th Fund, for which we worked with early childhood providers located in communities greatly impacted by the attack to develop an educational approach to addressing behavioral issues that resulted from trauma.

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