Cover image 3  
September 25, 2020
CLICK HERE for Links to State Guidance and Updates on COVID-19
Advancing Public Policies for people with Mental Illness, Substance Use Disorder and/or Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities
Connect With Us:
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter   View our profile on LinkedIn
Francine Sinkoff, Editor

Teaming up to train village police on crisis intervention - Franklin

Nonprofit guides multi-million-dollar project in downtown Malone - Franklin

Methadone clinic proposed for St. Lawrence Centre Mall

County, towns discuss Narcan training sites - Columbia

Governor Cuomo Announces Construction Underway on $6 Million Supportive Housing Development Serving Youth and Families Facing Homelessness - Albany

HealthAlliance must return vital mental-health services to Ulster County

Impact of COVID-19 on Mental Health in New York City

With 'Excitement And Apprehension,' NYC Reopens Buildings For Students With Complex Disabilities

Sullivan County reorganizes opioid task force

Outreach To Host Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony For New Recovery Center - Suffolk

City of Binghamton 2021 Budget Includes Funds For Mental Health Crisis Response Programs - Broome

Losing faith in mental health services - Yates

BestSelf cuts ribbon on first Niagara County location

Institute for Autism Research at Canisius College finds innovative outpatient treatment (MAXout) highly effective for children with autism - Erie
Northwell Receives $1.4M NIH Grant to Establish Gun Violence Prevention Screening

Northwell Health has been awarded $1.4 million from the National Institutes of Health to study gun violence prevention and establish and implement a first-of-its-kind protocol to universally screen among those at risk of firearm injury. The grant is part of the health system's "We Ask Everyone. Firearm Safety is a Health Issue" research study, which aims to shift the paradigm to view gun violence as a public health issue and approach firearm injury risk similarly to other health risk factors that are part of routine care, like smoking, substance use and motor vehicle accidents.

"We Ask Everyone. Firearm Safety is a Health Issue" will establish evidence-based screening and intervention strategies within three of its hospitals. Led by Drs. Chethan Sathya, director of Northwell's Center for Gun Violence Prevention, and Sandeep Kapoor, the study will pilot at South Shore University Hospital in Bay Shore, NY, Cohen Children's Medical Center, a pediatric trauma center on the Queens-Nassau County border that is the accepting facility for adolescent trauma for more than five counties, and Staten Island University Hospital - each of which are in regions with critical need for firearm injury and mortality prevention, and areas with at-risk youth.

Northwell plans to expand "We Ask Everyone. Firearm Safety is a Health Issue" across the health system. Read more here.
Listen, Open Up, Connect: A Mental Health Expert's Advice On Living Through A Crisis
Terri Cheney did not expect she would be weathering the pandemic so well. The author of Modern Madness: An Owner's Manual has been living with mental illness her entire life. She realizes now, this has been good preparation for the impositions of 2020.

"With anxiety," she said, "you're used to feeling unpredictable and always being afraid of what's going to happen. With depression, there's that loss of interest in things, the lack of productivity, and the loss of hope for the future."

"That's what America is experiencing right now," she says, while "these are all traits that mentally ill people have learned how to deal with."

"It's very strange," she says, "like we've been in training."

Cheney, an entertainment lawyer turned mental health advocate, has put her decades of de facto training into a book that merges memoir - her familiar form from two previous books on living with bipolar disorder - with practical insights on topics including mental health diagnoses, the impact of mental illness on relationships, and coping skills (both good and bad).
NPR spoke with her about the new book and her advice for living with pandemic stress. Read more here.
American Psychiatric Association Publishes Updated Practice Guidelines for the Treatment of Schizophrenia

FDA Requiring Labeling Changes for Benzodiazepines

Scheduling mental health outpatient appointment beneficial following psychiatric discharge

Recovery Coaching, Digital Breathalyzer Boost Retention in Outpatient SUD Treatment

Q&A: How One [Delaware] Police Department Uses Data to Support Behavioral Health Responses

Access to Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Dependent on Insurance Status

Rise of Methamphetamine: New Risks, Current Treatments
September 28, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

September 29, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

Turning One-Off Programs into Systems-Wide Behavioral Health Diversion
September 29, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

Breaking Through to the Other Side: A Survivor's Story
September 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, NYS Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy

Reentry for Citizens Needing Substance Use Disorder Treatment
October 7, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Using the PSYCKES Clinical Summary
October 8, 11 - 12:30 pm, OMH

Integration Of Behavioral Health Care & Primary Health Care: The Past, The Present & The Future
October 8, 3 - 4 pm, PsychU

Consent, Emergency, Quality Flag: PSYCKES Levels of Access
October 10, 10 - 11 am, OMH

Telehealth Considerations and Strategies for Special and Vulnerable Populations
October 15, 2 - 3 pm, Corporation for Supportive Housing

Understanding and Preventing Suicides: An Application of the Self Preservation Theory of Human Behavior
October 14, 12 - 1 pm, The 2020 Suicide Prevention Coalition Academy 

PSYCKES for Health Homes and Care Management Agencies (New!)
October 15, 9:30 - 11 am, OMH

PSYCKES for BHCCs and other Networks (New!)
October 21, 12 - 1 pm, OMH

Introduction to PSYCKES
October 28, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

Understanding Social Determinants of Health
November 5, 2 - 3 pm, Corporation for Supportive Housing



CLMHD Executive Committee Meeting
October 7: 8 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee (ASR) Meeting
October 8: 1:30 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
October 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Fall Full Membership Business Meeting
October 20: 1:30 - 4:30 pm, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
October 29: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Amid Pandemic, Mental Health Services Needed More Than Ever
New York State Senator David Carlucci in July this year.
Communities of color, youth, seniors and front-line workers remain among the populations most vulnerable to increasing depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts during the coronavirus pandemic.

Black and Hispanic people were more likely to report negative mental health symptoms during the pandemic, according to June data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. These effects were also more prevalent among essential workers who faced an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 and young adults, with 1 in 4 respondents between the ages of 18 to 24 having seriously considered suicide in the previous 30 days. The loss of support systems for young people and seniors due to school closures, limited access to nursing homes and other measures also led to an increased feeling of isolation.

But addressing worsening mental health metrics has become more challenging in the face of an ongoing fiscal crisis in New York. Providers offering mental health services and addiction services were among the first to see their state funding withheld or cut because of New York's $14.5 billion budget gap. Read more here.
CMS Issues Urgent Call to Action Following Drastic Decline in Care for Children in Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released preliminary Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) data revealing that, during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency (PHE), rates for vaccinations, primary, and preventive services among children in Medicaid and CHIP have steeply declined. This decline may have significant impacts on long-term health outcomes for children, as Medicaid and CHIP cover nearly 40 million children, including three quarters of children living in poverty and many with special health care needs that require health services. Further, as many schools remain closed for in-person instruction, many of the key services children receive may be delayed, such as child screens and vaccinations prior to the start of the school year or in-school services such as speech therapy, physical therapy, and occupational therapy. Because preventative and routine healthcare is crucial to ensuring that children stay healthy, CMS is releasing this preliminary data to raise awareness of the vital services Medicaid and CHIP provides, and calling on stakeholders to take action to make services more readily available so that we can begin closing the gap in care for children. Read more here.
New Research Shows Many Children with Mental Health Conditions Don't Get Follow-Up Care

A large new study finds that mental health care for many children in the U.S. falls far short, particularly when it comes to the follow-up treatment they receive.

The study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, examined insurance claims from children between the ages of 10 and 17 covered by Blue Cross Blue Shield. Of the more than 2 million children included in the study, nearly one in 10 had a claim related to mental illness between 2012 and 2018.

The authors found that only 71% of the children received treatment in the 3 months that followed an initial insurance claim - but the study found that rate varied widely from one ZIP code to the next. In the best-performing ZIP codes, nearly 90% of children received follow-up care within three months of an initial insurance claim. In the worst-performing areas, only half of the children got that care. Read more here.
NAMI Celebrates Major Step Forward in "9-8-8" Mental Health Crisis Response

On Tuesday, Congress passed S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020, which will head to the President's desk to be signed into law.

 "The need for 9-8-8 is urgent. Without appropriate care, people with mental illness end up on our streets, in jails and in emergency departments-and dying in tragic encounters with law enforcement," said Daniel H. Gillison, Jr., NAMI CEO. "Thanks to yesterday's vote, we are making progress toward ensuring people in crisis get help, not handcuffs."
More than half of people in the U.S. report that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health. Too many lives are being lost because of interactions between people in crisis and law enforcement. By the House passing S. 2661, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act, the country is on track to make 9-8-8 fully operational and provide resources to meet the increasing demand for mental health services. Read more here.
How the Pandemic Has Changed the Fight Against Opioid Addiction 

The last thing Helen wanted was to be alone. Despite her husband being asleep in the other room, Helen, who uses drugs intravenously, knew the risks associated with using heroin solo if something went south. (Her name has been changed to protect her privacy.) Her two-year pathway to addiction had followed the same trajectory as thousands of other Americans: after developing a dependency to prescription painkillers after a surgery, she started using harder drugs to stave off the symptoms of withdrawal once her doctor stopped delivering. Her use of opiates, which ended back in February, was a crash course in keeping herself and others alive. She and fellow users she linked up with in her stretch of Georgia knew that all the safeguards weren't enough. All the Narcan by their side and clean needles at their disposal could only go so far in saving your life if no one else is there to help. Isolation is the enemy.

One day during the summer of 2019, Helen made the first of several calls to the Never Use Alone phone line, before going through the motions of using. Since its launch in August 2019, the entirely volunteer-run phone line has lent a helping hand-or in this case, ear-to active drug users like Helen before, during, and after they use their substance of choice. Read more here.

How the Pandemic Forced Mental Health Care to Change for the Better Illustration of a laptop computer on a classic psychotherapy couch
When the Covid-19 pandemic forced Pari Baker, a clinical social worker and therapist in rural Bath County, Virginia, to switch to seeing clients over video in April, she wasn't sure how it would go. She'd never worked with clients that way before; the small hospital in the Allegheny Mountains where she works didn't offer it.

But after she started seeing her clients online, bad weather and transportation snafus were suddenly no longer issues. No-show rates for appointments plummeted. She also got new clients living in the surrounding communities, which have historically been underserved by mental health care.

"So many barriers to treatment... we just blew through them because of telehealth," Baker says. "The majority of the new clients had never had mental health services at all before."

She noticed her long-standing clients would relax a bit more in their own spaces. "It was really eye-opening to see how much people benefited from being in a space that was really comfortable for them," Baker says. They weren't worried about exiting her office and awkwardly seeing someone they knew in the waiting room. Telehealth, in a way, felt more confidential.

Now, she says, "I can't imagine going back. I think that would be really devastating, and really doing a disservice to our people." Read more here.
Access To Care & Care Continuity Are Front & Center For Health Plans

When we're working with provider organizations on building better relationships with health plans, my colleague and OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Paul Duck always starts with the access issue. His repeated refrain-one of the first questions any health plan will have is how fast can consumers get the services they need and request?

Why the payer focus on access? Timely access to care, particularly behavioral health services, has been linked to lower costs, lower emergency room use, fewer hospital admissions, and lower readmission rates. And, related to timely access to care is the care continuity issue-making sure the care coordinator function "connects the dots" for a "whole person" approach to services.

So, what are health plans doing to promote access to care and care continuity? What are health plan managers looking for to improve these functions in their delivery system, and what type of outcome measures are they requiring? A recent panel at The 2020 OPEN MINDS 
Management Best Practices Institute included Samir Malik, executive vice president and general manager at Optum; Oleg Tarkovsky, director of behavioral health services at CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield; and Andrew Vitullo, vice president of development at Kolmac Outpatient Recovery, and the roundtable was moderated by OPEN MINDS Senior Associate Deb Adler. Read more here.
The Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors advances public policies and awareness for people with mental illness, chemical dependency and developmental disabilities.  We are a statewide membership organization that consists of the Commissioner/ Director of each of the state's 57 county mental hygiene departments and the mental hygiene department of the City of New York.