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June 12, 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
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Francine Sinkoff, Editor

"Coping Circles" provides telehealth-style group therapy to New Yorkers

Jefferson County sees increase in overdoses, offers list of resources for assistance

Citizen Advocates drops out of plan to take over outpatient mental health care - Warren

Narcan training goes virtual - Orange

Fatal ODs Spike 40% in Nassau Amid Pandemic - Nassau

Monroe County officials announce Maisie's Law, to distribute Narcan with every opioid prescription

BlueCross BlueShield "Blue Fund" Contributes an additional $900,000 to WNY COVID-19 Community Response Fund
The Biggest Psychological Experiment in History Is Running Now
The impact of ¬≠COVID-19 on the physical health of the world's citizens is extraordinary. By mid-May there were upward of four million cases spread across more than 180 countries. The pandemic's effect on mental health could be even more far-reaching. At one point roughly one third of the planet's population was under orders to stay home. That means 2.6 billion people--more than were alive during World War II--were experiencing the emotional and financial reverberations of this new coronavirus. "[The lockdown] is arguably the largest psychological experiment ever conducted," wrote health psychologist Elke Van Hoof of Free University of Brussels-VUB in Belgium. The results of this unwitting experiment are only beginning to be calculated.

The science of resilience, which investigates how people weather adversity, offers some clues. A resilient individual, wrote Harvard University psychiatrist George Vaillant, resembles a twig with a fresh, green living core. "When twisted out of shape, such a twig bends, but it does not break; instead it springs back and continues growing." The metaphor describes a surprising number of people: As many as two thirds of individuals recover from difficult experiences without prolonged psychological effects, even when they have lived through events such as violent crime or being a prisoner of war. Some even go on to grow and learn from what happened to them. But the other third suffers real psychological distress--some people for a few months, others for years. Read more here.
Telepsychiatry: To Be or Not to Be, That Is the Question

United Hospital Fund: Covid-19 Will Put State's Medicaid Program to the Test

Mixing meds: Weighing the pros and cons of adding benzodiazepines to buprenorphine treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder

How does long-acting, injected naltrexone buffer against opioid use?

Promising New Treatment for Tourette Syndrome

Residential Mobility Predicts Fewer Mental Health Visits in Patients with Mental Illness

Using Stories to Mentally Survive as a COVID-19 Clinician

How Health Centers Can Improve Patient Care Through Value-Based Payment Models

4 Payer Data Points That Demonstrate Behavioral, Mental Care Parity

The Trauma of It All: How Race, Oppression, and COVID-19 Intersect
June 15, 2 - 4 pm, Coalition for Behavioral Health

A Psychological Framework for Supporting Staff Facing Crisis 
June 15, 3 - 4 pm, HANYS

Empowerment in Crisis: Supporting People to Reclaim Their Voice and Make Their Choice
June 16, 12 - 1 pm, NYAPRS

Using PSYCKES Quality Indicator Reports
June 17, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

June 17, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 17, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 18, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 18, 1 - 2 pm, OPEN MINDS

June 18, 2 - 3:30 pm, National Empowerment Center

June 18, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 22, 1 - 2 pm, MCTAC/CTAC

June 22, 2 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA

June 23, 1 - 2 pm, Manatt Health

Data Sharing Among Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Partners-Addressing Data Sharing Agreements and Confidentiality Concerns
June 24, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 24, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

Supporting the Resilience of Black Men: Culturally Affirming and Responsive Approaches to Engagement, Treatment, and Recovery
June 25, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA BRSS TACS

Navigating System Cultures across the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM)
June 26, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Improving Cultural Competence across the Sequential Intercept Model (SIM)
June 29, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

July 1, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

Law Enforcement Responses to People with Opioid Use Disorders
July 9, 3 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

July 14, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 29, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health


JUNE 2020

Children & Families Committee Meeting
June 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

DCS Mentoring Workshop: "Housing 101"
June 18: 9 am - 12 pm, GTM

JULY 2020

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee (ASR) Meeting
July 9: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
July 9: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
July 14: 1 - 3 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
July 21: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and Go To Meeting information, 518.462.9422 
HHS Announces Enhanced Provider Portal, Relief Fund Payments for Safety Net Hospitals, Medicaid & CHIP Providers

This week, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), is announcing additional distributions from the Provider Relief Fund to eligible Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs. HHS expects to distribute approximately $15 billion to eligible providers that participate in state Medicaid and CHIP programs and have not received a payment from the Provider Relief Fund General Allocation. HHS is also announcing the distribution of $10 billion in Provider Relief Funds to safety net hospitals that serve our most vulnerable citizens. The safety net distribution will occur this week.

HHS is providing support to healthcare providers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic through the bipartisan CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, which allocated $175 billion in relief funds to hospitals and other healthcare providers, including those disproportionately impacted by this pandemic. Read more here.

CARES Act Provider Relief Fund FAQ 
Staying Connected In The COVID-19 Pandemic: Telehealth At The Largest Safety-Net System In The United States

NYC Health + Hospitals (NYC H+H) is the largest safety net health care delivery system in the United States serving over one million New Yorkers across 11 hospitals and over 60 community health centers. Over 70% of NYC H+H's adult population either is insured by Medicaid or has no insurance. The population is one of the most ethnically diverse in the country. Furthermore, H+H is the leading provider to many of New York's most vulnerable populations, including homeless patients (over 60,000 shelter residents), justice-involved patients (over 40,000 admissions annually) and those living in NYC public housing (over 400,000 residents). The tsunami of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases that hit New York City revealed that our vulnerable patients disproportionately bore the burden of the devastating health and economic impacts of the pandemic. 

As the health system faced an overwhelming volume of inpatient admissions as well as the need to close our extensive clinic network, it turned to telehealth solutions to help maintain existing operations-while responding to the new demands associated with COVID-19. Read more here

Children's Mental Health Services Further Devastated by Pandemic

The limited access to children's behavioral health care services in New York only has been exacerbated by the Covid-19 crisis, according to a new report from the Center for New York City Affairs at the New School.

The report noted that, even before the pandemic, suicide was the second-leading cause of death in the state for teens ages 15 to 19 and the third-leading cause of death for children ages 5 to 14. Additionally, despite federal and state laws requiring insurance companies to make mental health care more affordable and easier to obtain, doctors and advocates report that greater investment and reimbursement is needed to adequately address children's behavioral health needs, it found.

Covid-19-induced stressors, such as grief, death and financial instability, will only increase undermet needs, said Abigail Kramer, a senior editor at the center and author of the report. Emergency department physicians have already seen an uptick in seriously mentally ill children in recent weeks, and many of those conditions could have been headed off earlier if the appropriate resources had been available and accessible in the community. Read more here.
What's Worrying Teenagers Right Now

According to Nancy Lublin, the chief executive and co-founder of  Crisis Text Line, a free mental health texting service providing confidential crisis intervention, the top three topics in conversations since the pandemic began have been "anxiety," "depression" and "relationships."

But in the past week, as the demonstrations over the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and others grew, conversations with the words "black, racism, riots and protest" have made up 10 percent of all conversations at Crisis Text Line. This is a significant increase from the usual appearance of such words in the global service's conversations: The average is 1.5 percent.

Crisis Text Line, which has fielded 150 million texts since 2013, says many of its users are desperately looking for ways to connect and cope right now. Sixty-eight percent of texters say they've shared something they've never shared with another human being, Ms. Lublin said. "For many, using the text line is the first time they've ever opened up that they're angry or that they're scared." Read more here.
For Black Youth, a Time of Upheaval Takes a Toll on Mental Health

From his room in Los Angeles, Cecil Hannibal worries about his grandmother getting Covid-19 every time she goes to the supermarket in Louisville, Ky. In northern Georgia, Visaysha Harris puts limits on her news consumption, to keep from "taking too much of it all in." In Dallas, Ashley Otah makes sure to follow reminders on her mindfulness apps. In New Jersey, Zane Keyes unwinds by riding his bike. "Since George Floyd's murder, I feel angry, frustrated, unheard," he says.

These young people - three of them new college graduates - are feeling overwhelmed and discouraged during this moment of national upheaval. A s Black Americans, these four are navigating far more than a disrupted senior year and a collapsed job market: Covid-19 hit their communities especially hard, and then that was compounded by seemingly limitless videos of police brutalizing people who look like them. Read more here .
Forward Together: A Virtual Symposium On Improving Access to Effective Care for People Experiencing Homelessness, Serious Mental Illness, and Substance Use Disorders
SAMHSA's Homeless and Housing Resource Network (HHRN) is pleased to announce a FREE, national online event. Forward Together: A Virtual Symposium will engage you in large plenaries and smaller concurrent sessions featuring approximately two dozen national experts, policy makers, and providers.

No travel is required; participate directly from your own internet-connected computer. Continuing education credits are available at no cost to registrants. Join us in learning and sharing what works! All those working at the intersection of serious mental illness, substance use or co-occurring disorders and homelessness will find engaging sessions. 
So think of a year ago (I know it is hard) and the big issues in staffing for provider organizations serving complex consumers-the increasing use of technology, the shift to value-based reimbursement, and integration of skills and service delivery.

Roll forward to June of 2020-a little over three months into the crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The effects on staffing in this crisis are three-fold. Increased concern about personal safety in face-to-face and direct care services due to the pandemic. A faster scaling up of virtual service delivery than provider organizations expected. And the near-complete shift to virtual operations for clinical professionals as well as administrative staff.

And now, looking ahead, what will the big staffing issues be in the post-crisis recovery? That was the focus of yesterday's session during The 2020 OPEN MINDS I/DD Executive Summit, 
Employee Engagement &  Retention During COVID-19, with Carl E. Clark II, chief executive officer of Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health and Stacy DiStefano, chief operating officer of Chimes International. Their take? Increased challenges (and opportunities) in recruiting staff and paying competitive salaries in times of financial turmoil. Keeping them motivated and on the job in the 'new normal' (working from home, following social distancing guidelines, testing for COVID-19, etc.). And thinking about how to expand skillsets and how to meet integrated care requirements. 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.