Improving the delivery of behavioral health services to vulnerable, under-served and high risk populations

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Additional Activities & Past Projects

Additional Activities:

Project Connections at Community Re-entry is Coming!

BHLI is thrilled to announce that we have received funding from local foundations to create a new pilot project to serve inmates at discharge from Pre-Trial Detention. The funding will support a mobile van that will be parked outside of Central Booking. We will have a clinical team comprised of a doctor, nurse, social worker and peer outreach workers to staff the van. The staff will be able to go behind the bars to engage inmates in advance and to provide some counseling and groups. Through building these connections with inmates and with corrections staff, BHLI is enhancing the potential for a smooth transition into treatment. At the van, the team will provide induction treatment with a buprenorphine compound medication as well as individualized support services as we do in our existing Project Connections sites. BHLI is excited about the potential to enhance treatment to this extremely vulnerable and under-served population. We are grateful to the Abell Foundation, the Open Society Institute-Baltimore, the Krieger Fund and the Stulman fund for their contributions to this program.

BHLI is engaged as well in the follow activities:

• Technical assistance on issues related to integrated care, models using case rate funding for heavy user populations, implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
• Supporting with a grant from the Krieger Fund, a graduate student to work with clients at RIC on telling stories through poetry as part of the recovery process.
• Creating a video and Kickstarter campaign to publish book of life stories created by persons in recovery.
• Bringing additional resources to the sites including art and educational programs.
• Disseminating information and advocacy materials at national and local conferences, participating on State workgroups and publications.

Past Projects:

Project Connections: Treatment for depression, anxiety and trauma-related disorders

There is a strong association between depression and other mental health conditions and poverty, but relatively few of those affected are in treatment. There are myriad reasons for this: the apathy resulting from the disease itself, the stigma in the community for those seeking mental health treatment, and the failure to understand the disease and its consequences. These factors are exacerbated by a lack of access to mental health professionals and a corresponding dearth of culturally sensitive resources. While the causes of mental disorders are complex, the consequences are severe and include poverty, unemployment, crime, substance abuse, violence and victimization. Depression and related illnesses present a public health crisis of major proportions. The challenge is to identify and treat those suffering from mental health problems and link them with appropriate services.

BHLI’s Project Connections worked to meet this challenge in Baltimore City and beyond by placing mental health professionals within grassroots community institutions - from community centers and neighborhood health education sites to primary health care clinics and re-entry programs for ex-offenders. The Project provided services in 5 sites including two Healthy Start sites for pregnant and post-partum women and several community sites serving mostly ex-offenders and individuals in recovery.

Funds were provided by local foundations including The Leonard and Helen Stulman Foundation, The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation, The Abell Foundation, and The Zanvyl Krieger Foundation. In addition, the Maryland State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene ­ Transformation Office is funded the Phase Two research evaluation of Project Connections.

The Project was quite successful in engaging and treatment over 500 individuals. However, the foundation funding was time-limited and the intent was to sustain the project with public funding. However, the recession and sequestration events placed limits on expanded services and it was necessary to discontinue the project until funds are available. Nonetheless, the lessons learned from the Project continue to inform practice and related models will be developed for funding proposals.

New! Project Connections video

In partnership with the Megaphone Project, BHLI recently developed a video to highlight the work of Project Connections, its partner organizations and the clients it serves. Learn about the success of Project Connections by viewing our short video here!