Evidence-Based Practice Guidelines for Cultural Competence in Behavioral Health Delivery

Date: 

07/02/2015

Evidence-Based Practice Guidelines for Cultural Competence in Behavioral Health Delivery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) 59, Improving Cultural Competence, is a multidimensional framework that explains core elements of cultural competence in behavioral health delivery, as well as specific racial, ethnic, and cultural considerations. TIPs are evidence-based best practice guidelines published by SAMHSA to aid in their mission of reducing the impact of substance abuse and mental illness in America. The guidelines are developed through expert consensus by a multidisciplinary non-Federal panel, as well as relevant research findings, demonstration experience, and implementation requirements. TIPS are intended to provide guidance to clinicians, program administrators, and payers.

TIP 59 describes why cultural competence is important to behavioral health, explains how organizations and counselors can become culturally competent, and defines terms and concepts relating to cultural competence. Additionally, TIP 59 includes:

  • core competencies for counselors and clinical staff,
  • steps for culturally responsive evaluation and treatment planning,
  • a guide to organizational cultural competence,
  • a review of literature relating to specific cultural groups, and
  • a description of drug cultures and the culture of recovery.

This TIP is intended to help counselors and organizations improve their cultural competence. Providing culturally responsive services is likely to result in better outcomes for clients with mental illness and/or substance use disorders.