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CLAS Behavioral Health Implementation Guide

CLAS Guide, Report, and Toolkit


The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (The National CLAS Standards) aim to improve health care quality and advance health equity by establishing a framework for organizations to serve the nation's increasingly diverse communities.

Over the past several years, behavioral health providers and education systems are recognizing the value of the National CLAS Standards in advancing behavioral health equity. To advance this effort, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) collaborated with OMH to develop the Behavioral Health Implementation Guide for the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (Behavioral Health Implementation Guide).

This Behavioral Health Implementation Guide underscores the ways in which the National CLAS Standards can improve access to behavioral health care, promote quality behavioral health programs and practice, and ultimately reduce persistent disparities in mental health and substance use treatment for underserved minority communities

In addition, OMH developed a framework and toolkit to guide health care organizations’ efforts in evaluating their implementation of the National CLAS Standards. The full report can be accessed below along with the toolkit which distills the elements of the framework and can help guide evaluations across four settings (ambulatory care, behavioral health, hospitals, and public health).


Advancing Behavioral Health Equity: National CLAS Standards in Action


In November 2021, OMH and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) hosted a webinar titled, Advancing Behavioral Health Equity: National CLAS Standards in Action webinar.

This webinar highlighted real-world examples of behavioral health service providers using the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) and the Behavioral Health Implementation Guide. Presenters included:

  • Tom Coderre, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Region 1 Administrator for Mental Health and Substance Use, HHS SAMHSA
  • RADM Felicia Collins, MD, MPH, FAAP, Director, HHS OMH
  • Monica S. Johnson, MA, LPC, Division Director, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Behavioral Health
  • Jill Mays, Director, Office of Behavioral Health Prevention and Federal Grants, Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities
  • Sudarshan Pyakurel, Executive Director, Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio
  • Lilliana St. Clair, MS, LPC, Project Director, Dayspring Community Services, Preferred Family Healthcare

The Behavioral Health Implementation Guide and the National CLAS Standards provide real-life examples of implementation strategies for the health and behavioral healthcare community to improve the provision of services to all individuals, regardless of race, ethnicity, language, socioeconomic status, and other cultural characteristics.

1/19/2022 4:31:00 PM