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Assessment of the Louisville Youth Behavioral Health Landscape and Recommendations


Kentucky Youth Advocates, in partnership with the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, conducted a community assessment to better understand the behavioral health landscape for adolescents in Louisville. The assessment included ten focus groups and an online survey during the Fall of 2020 with behavioral health providers, pediatricians, educators, residential treatment staff, juvenile justice staff, community support organizations, case managers, parents, and youth.  

Respondents pointed to cultural barriers as one of the most significant obstacles for youth seeking services, including a lack of providers of color and bilingual providers. Other hurdles Louisville youth faced seeking behavioral health support included cost of services, limited availability of behavioral health supports in West and South Louisville, and difficulty accessing supports during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While the respondents noted the difficulties many Louisville youth experience in accessing behavioral health services, several ideas for improvement emerged, including:

  • Improving cultural appropriateness of care by training more providers of color and offering interpretation services so providers can better communicate with non-native English speaking families.  
  • Establishing more preventive programs such as mentorships and community centers at low or no cost to youth.  
  • Increasing community collaboration among providers, community centers, and schools in order to make it easier for students to access services they need.
  • Bringing behavioral health services into existing locations where youth are such as primary care offices, community centers, and libraries to create a more integrated environment.
  • Making services more affordable and expanding the number of providers that accept both public and private health insurance.