Nationally, it seems SAMHSA, HHS, and others are talking more and more about integration of SA prevention, MH promotion and other public health categories into integrated systems of care. On the community level, a good portion of these discussions often include funding sources and the guiding principles (or restrictions) that come with them. In my community, we use the CTC model (with some SPF influences) which provides some guidance on selecting best practices and a structure for some level of integration.
But what does integration look like in practice at the local level?
We are trying, but could use a good role model. We have our MH and SA folks talk with primary care, but they don't always speak the same language. We dabble in complimentary social norms messages that address SA and MH, but are concerned about unknown synergistic effects of simultaneous campaigns. We look at both the SA and MH outcome columns in the NREPP when choosing programs, but rarely find a good fit. We looked at universal prevention strategies for elementary schools, but were reminded they are not part of the Common Core. We decided to transform our coalition to include sectors necessary to implement a wider array of strategies, then realized the necessary players were already around the table. We created a task force to do a fresh community assessment to address a wider range of youth risk factors and local conditions, but can't help but imagine certain funders cringing at the thought.
So, what is "integrating," anyway? What is working in communities that are integrating? Is there an example of a community that has done this well?