Integration of Cultural and Linguistic Competence into Mental Health Service Delivery

We recognize that the rapidly growing diversity of our nation and state requires that every service sector of our society operate differently to acknowledge the implications of cultural differences. As a minority-owned firm, our founding partners and many of our team members have devoted their professional careers to addressing the needs of traditionally underserved and diverse populations.

We recognize that the efforts to integrate cultural and linguistic competence (CLC) has been seen as technical work and the adaptive work of addressing the needs for shifts in values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors has been much more challenging.

In the last 20 years, many definitions and frameworks have been created for integrating CLC and a variety of toolkits, guides, and workbooks have been developed for organizations and providers in all human services arenas.

Our Philosophy

We see the integration of cultural and linguistic competence as adaptive work – it requires us to first assess our own values, beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors around diversity and cultural groups with their innate similarities and differences. It also requires us to assess our capacity and desire for change to address cultural and linguistic competence personally and professionally.

Our Approach

We view the process of becoming culturally and linguistically competent as a personal and professional journey that unfolds over time and with a clear sense of direction.

We see ourselves as capacity builders who engage in exploration and inquiry with leaders and agencies to set goals, define outcomes, motivate and manage change, and track results. Our experience has shown that every group has assets and lived experiences that should be harnessed and honored. We know that real transformation happens when groups and communities drive their own change efforts.

In partnership with our clients, we help groups and organizations:

  • explore WHY integrating CLC is crucial;
  • create common ground language and common ground around the concepts of cultural and language diversity;
  • identify a guiding team or coalition to champion the work;
  • develop a shared vision, values, and outcomes to drive the change;
  • create opportunities and processes to deepen knowledge; and
  • infuse and sustain the CLC integration.

We are passionate about this work and would love to partner with you. Contact us for a free consultation.


Change Matrix developed this resource package, in collaboration with the Center for Applied Research Solutions (CARS), for the Pacific Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center. It is designed to support Pacific Southwest mental health organizations as they work to provide culturally and linguistically competent mental health services for their diverse populations. It is easy to use and addresses the needs and realities of the Pacific Southwest region. This resource package is organized into six goal areas:

  • Governance and Leadership
  • Workforce Development
  • Community Engagement and Partnership
  • Adaptation of Services and Supports
  • Communication and Language Supports
  • Continuous Quality and Accountability

View the Package of Resources (pdf)

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How We Celebrate Our Hearts During Heart Month

In honor of Heart Health Month, we shared what we each do to take care of our hearts.

London: I try to eat well and remain active. I also give and get lots of hugs!

Naomi: I wear a heart monitor to exercise at my target heart rate… know my healthy weight/fat % for a woman my age, height, and activity level… And focus on love and gratitude!

Rachele: Taking care of my heart involves eating healthy (although I do have a weakness for chips), walking my dog Rusti, practicing pilates and bar method, and reducing stress by getting massages!

Sandra: I love to be active by walking on most days and doing yoga and spin, when I can fit it in. I also prioritize heart-healthy foods in my diet.

Sarah: I always try to be conscious of the types of foods I am eating, keep up a short yoga routine, and am always playing with and loving up on my two very active and cuddly cats.

Shannon: Taking care of my heart involves spending time with my grandchildren and family and friends. I have a chronic condition that limits my cardio exertion so small low-intensity workouts and anything in the water works best.

Suganya: I work with a trainer to maintain muscle and bone integrity, am trying intermittent fasting (an old and traditional cultural practice in the east), and like Rachele get massages as often as I can.

Tennille: I am currently working with a trainer and therapist. I drink plenty of water and have cardio testing done regularly because heart disease runs in my family.

Alina: Somewhat unintentionally, I eat a pretty heart-healthy diet (no mammals for me!).  I also exercise daily and look forward to escaping to the woods and mountains on the weekend, which calms anxiety and my heart.

Elizabeth: I gave up sugar about 4 years ago, exercise daily including yoga, cardio and strength training and try to preserve space for activities that decrease stress like playing the piano.

Jennifer: I keep in touch with my friends and family. I also make an effort to drink lots of water and have a pilates and yoga routine.

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Sandra’s Immigration Story: On the border

No matter what side of the immigration and citizen debate one gravitates to, the inability of our nation’s leaders to find consensus has been distressing to watch. During one of our team meetings, we found ourselves sharing our own stories of what the word immigration means to us. We thought we’d share a little more about our team members over the course of time.


I grew up on the southern border, in El Paso, Texas. My birth city has been in the news lately, with discussion of building a wall to address the supposed immigration crisis. But this assessment doesn’t ring true to me. El Paso is a city of immigrants. The vast majority of El Paso residents are Latino. Over 25% are foreign-born, having emigrated mostly from Mexico. Growing up, the border was fluid. My family traveled regularly into Juarez, Mexico to buy food and medicine. I remember visiting my great-grandmother, who ran a little store at the top of a dusty hill. Family members lived on both sides of the border. Life happened on both sides of the border. And that is still true today. Thousands of people cross the border every day to eat, work, shop, and visit with friends and family. This is the largest international community in the world and thus there is an inter-independence that is important to the vitality of both cities.

But some choose to take a risk, uproot their family and settle in a new country. When you think about the ‘push’ and ‘pull’ factors of immigration, the strong US economy has pulled many people to the US side of the border. Many border residents have immigrant roots. My grandparents and great-grandparents were born in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Durango and Zacatecas and crossed into the US in the early 1900s. My paternal grandfather crossed the border in 1918 when he was an infant and his family headed to Kansas seeking agricultural work. My maternal grandmother was also very young when her family crossed the border at El Paso in 1916 and then settled in Texas to open a restaurant. I have seen their border crossing documents indicating when and where they crossed, but it’s only part of their story. There is much about their immigrant story that I don’t know.

What circumstances were they leaving? Who were they leaving behind? What did they hope to find?

I’m sure my family was no different from the majority of immigrants, who have come to the US seeking opportunities not available to them in their home countries. Immigrants are no different from native-born citizens, in the sense that they want the opportunity to support themselves and create a better life for their children. Like other immigrants, my family members worked hard, raised families, and contributed to society. Once in the US, my family members worked mostly as laborers—in kitchens, farms, offices, and factories. The hard work and sacrifices made my parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents before them, have resulted in opportunities for me. I was able to attend college and then graduate school. And this education has afforded me a career path with economic security and the privilege to participate in meaningful work.

I like to think that I am a continuation of their story and maybe I embody the realization of the hopes and dreams they brought with them to this country.

[Picture above: El Paso, TX]
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