Capitol Correspondence - 04.02.24

ACL Launches The Link Center: A New Resource for Individuals with Disabilities and Mental Health Conditions

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The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has announced the launch of The Link Center website—a groundbreaking resource designed to unlock opportunities for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), brain injuries, and other cognitive disabilities who also face mental health challenges.

The newly launched website serves as a national hub offering information on best practices, promising strategies, upcoming events, webinars, and technical assistance opportunities. Tailored for a broad audience, the materials cater to individuals with disabilities and their families, advocates, policymakers, direct support professionals, and clinical professionals alike.

Established by ACL in 2022, the center provides state agencies with technical assistance and resources to facilitate policy development, service design, and service coordination across agencies, with a focus on promoting community inclusion and participation.

Driven by insights from individuals with co-occurring conditions, including those from underserved communities, The Link Center offers information, training, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Quarterly shared learning groups hosted by the center delve into various topics, such as supporting individuals through transitions, tailored to different audiences.

A key initiative of The Link Center is its State Policy Academy, co-funded by ACL and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This initiative supports six states in developing robust plans for cross-system collaboration and policies to ensure that inclusive crisis response systems meet the needs of individuals with co-occurring disabilities.

The Link Center’s launch aligns with broader efforts across the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to transform behavioral health by strengthening systems capacity and improving access to care. As outlined in the HHS Roadmap for Behavioral Health Integration, the agency is committed to providing integrated, equitable, evidence-based, culturally appropriate, and person-centered behavioral health care, in line with the President’s strategy to address the national mental health crisis.