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Mental Health Update

Posted in:
October 31, 2022
Mental Health Update

10/31/2022 – NYS OMH: Providing Language Access Services in Mental Health Settings

Providing Language Access Services in Mental Health Settings 10/31/22

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) believes everyone should have an equal opportunity to achieve mental wellness. This means implementing services and policies to reduce disparities in access, quality, and treatment outcomes for historically marginalized, underserved, and unserved populations.

OMH fully strongly supports utilizing best practice approaches in the provision of language access services because they enhance patient empowerment, improve health outcomes and strengthen patient engagement (attached).

All entities providing mental health services share the responsibility of ensuring individuals who identify as; Deaf, DeafBlind, Hard-of-Hearing, Immigrants, Limited English Proficient (LEP), and particularly those who speak Languages of Limited Diffusion (LLDs), are given additional supports to facilitate their access to quality services. This includes but is not limited to ensuring that:

–       People who need or request language access services (written translation, interpretation, transcription, CART, etc.) – need to have them provided at no cost;

–       Language access services should be delivered in all treatment modalities (from intake to discharge).

–       All documentation relevant to care (i.e., intake forms, consent forms, treatment plans) – is made available in the preferred language/format of their choice in a timely manner;

–       Signage/Postings are available in multiple languages;

–       Reasonable efforts are made to hire, recruit, and retain individuals fluent in the most prevalent languages spoken by patients, clients, families, and surrogate decision-makers.

Inadequate Language Access approaches include but are not limited to:

–       Denying services to individuals due to lack of interpretation services;

–       Utilizing family members/friends as interpreters;

–       Charging for language access services;

–       Not having vital documents available in patients’ preferred languages or format (i.e., large print, braille);

–       Signage/Postings are only available in English.

OMH has a process to solicit feedback directly from service recipients regarding their experience receiving language access services.

–       Any complaints/challenges can be reported through a survey monitored by OMH’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. The survey is available in multiple languages on OMH’s website (;

–       Providers/Health Homes experiencing MCOs who are nonresponsive to language access reimbursement requests should email the DOH managed care mailbox and copy the OMH Managed Care Mailbox

As always, if you have any questions, concerns or require technical assistance please contact OMH’s Chief Diversity Officer,, and/or OMH’s Statewide Language Access Coordinator,

Matthew Canuteson
Pronouns: He, Him, His
Diversity and Inclusion Officer
Office of Diversity and Inclusion
New York State Office of Mental Health
44 Holland Ave 2nd Floor
Albany, NY 12229

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