The Program for Recovery and Community Health (PRCH) is part of the Connecticut Mental Health Center of the Department of Psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine. We conduct research, training, evaluation, and policy development in the areas of recovery from serious mental illness, substance use, citizenship, social inclusion, and health disparities and equity.
PRCH was founded in 1999 by a group of social scientists, clinical and community-based providers, educators, community organizers, and people in recovery who had become dissatisfied with the then-current state of mental health and addiction services, the limitations services placed on individuals' chances for recovery, and the disparities in care based on ethnicity and culture. In 2009, we celebrated our 10th anniversary with a series of seminars and lectures on the future of community mental health entitled “Citizenship, Capabilities, and Culture.”
Since its founding, PRCH has made substantive and enduring contributions to the "revolution" called for in behavioral health care—both by the U.S. Government (DHHS, 2005) and by the recovery community in the U.S. and throughout the world. Consistent with the suggestion of John McKnight (1992) that "[r]evolutions begin when people who are defined as problems achieve the power to redefine the problem," we take the central task of our work to be involving people living with addictions and mental illnesses in redefining their challenges in their own terms. Rather than viewing these individuals as problems to be addressed through the intervention of others, we view people as experts on the problems and difficulties posed by mental illness and addiction, and, consequently, as foremost experts on identifying solutions to these same problems.
We seek to create and pursue a vision for a dramatically different future in which the "outdated science, outmoded financing, and unspoken discrimination" that far too often characterizes behavioral health care (DHHS, 2003) is replaced by hope-filled, culturally-responsive, and recovery-oriented services and supports which enable people to reclaim their lives as valuable and contributing members of their communities.
PRCH has developed a national and international reputation as a leader in articulating, operationalizing, and implementing culturally-responsive and recovery-oriented care through this approach by:
- researching innovative and effective community and peer-based services and supports
- assisting systems of care in becoming more culturally-responsive and recovery-oriented
- reducing health care disparities, and
- improving individual, agency, and system-level outcomes