Training Workshop on U.S. Mental Health Service held at NYU Shanghai

NYU-ECNU Institute for Social Development at NYU Shanghai hosted a three-day intensive training workshop on U.S. Mental Health Service on May 13-15, 2016, which was the eighth workshop session. Dr. Teddy Chen, the Director of Mental Health Bridge Program at Charles B. Wang Community Health Center in New York City, was invited to re-visit Shanghai and to provide the training sharing his experience in delivering mental health services to the Chinese American community in the United States. Social work professionals from universities and diverse social service agencies across the country, as well as students majoring in Social Work attended the workshop.

As a New York State licensed clinical social worker and a founding member in establishing the Bridge Program, a nationally recognized model program integrating mental health and primary health care services, Dr. Chen is dedicated to advocating and improving access to mental health services for Asian Americans. Under the leadership of Dr. Chen, the Bridge Program’s service has grown more than 10 folds since its inception in 1998.

The three-day workshop provided an opportunity for the audience to learn about the U.S. mental health system and how social workers function as a major provider in this system.  Dr. Chen introduced the U.S. mental health system to the audience by explaining brief history, the challenges faced by the present society, the service utilization, treatment facilities and models, mental health policy issues, and the separation of health and mental health. Dr. Chen also talked about the mental health issues faced by the Chinese American community in the United States and the challenges of providing mental health care to this community. Of importance, the Bridge Program, founded by Dr. Chen, has the precise purpose to integrate physical and mental health together in one setting so that patients could receive a comprehensive care at the same time. Its success has spurred the U.S. health and mental health fields to follow suits across the nation in providing integrated care in community health care settings.

Moreover, Dr. Chen shared a great amount of practical knowledge and experience in working with different populations from children to the elders, and with people suffering from various mental disorders, such as Depression and Anxiety, Suicide, Alzheimer’s disease, and Alcohol Use, along with popular and effective treatment models and techniques that are widely used in the field.

The participants, working in various fields, including hospitals, universities, social service agency, and mental health service center, also brought their own clinical experience to the discussion that enriched the exchanges of knowledge and skills among participants and between Western and Eastern caring ideologies and models. The participants were particularly impressed by the instruments that were shared during the workshop and the usefulness in facilitating mental health service. After the workshop, the participants have uniformly expressed the importance of having such an opportunity to learn from the U.S. mental health service system, know more about different types of mental disorders, learn about integrated care, and have discussions about clinical cases.

This workshop marks the end for an important and successful year for the Institute in networking with social work professional fields between the United States and China.