May 27, 2021
N.Y. Hospital, Schools Aim To Improve Kids' Access To Mental Health Provider

As rates of anxiety, depression and suicide in children have been rising in recent years, only 20% of kids have access to mental health care. To change that, a Long Island hospital joined with school districts. Click here to listen.

The Pandemic’s Impact on Children’s Mental Health 

The pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the nation’s mental health, and a new issue brief shows that children are also facing worsening emotional and cognitive health. The brief examines factors contributing to worsening mental health and substance use outcomes among children and adolescents during the pandemic, looking closely at those who are at higher risk for negative mental health impacts, such as LGBTQ youth and children of color.
New Opioid Treatment Program in St. Lawrence County Moving Closer to Opening

The north country’s third methadone clinic is inching closer to opening in St. Lawrence County.

In a partnership between the county and St. Lawrence Health — rebranded from St. Lawrence Health System this month — the clinic is one component of an Opioid Treatment Program to be housed at the St. Lawrence Centre Mall in Massena.

With a $900,000 startup grant over three years from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Comprehensive Opioid, Stimulant, and Substance Abuse Program, the county considered proposals for the outpatient OTP in the fall, agreeing to award the supplemental funding to SLH in November. Read more here.
New Team-Up of Utica Police, Neighborhood Center to Respond to Mental Health Calls

A pilot partnership between the Utica Police Department and the Neighborhood Center's Mobile Crisis Assessment Team to respond to mental health calls has officially launched.

Officials made the announcement Thursday morning at Martin Luther King Jr. Dream Park on South Street in Utica. Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri noted the park has been the site of several past mental health calls.

"It's always been more reactive than proactive," he said of law enforcement's response to such calls. Read more here.
As Pandemic Restrictions Ease, Mental Health Impacts Could Remain

Pandemic restrictions in New York and around the country are starting to ease. Tens of thousands of people are vaccinated everyday, while the COVID-19 positivity rate continues to decline from a wintertime spike.

But a longer-lasting concern of the pandemic could be the mental health shock created by the year-long crisis.

Mental health advocates like Glenn Liebman, the CEO of the Mental Health Association of New York, are concerned a lasting legacy of the pandemic will be ongoing mental health struggles — and New York needs to respond. Read more here.

May 27, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 2, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

June 2, 2 - 3:30 pm, NASMHPD

June 2, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 8, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 10, 10 - 11 am, OMH

June 10, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

June 10, 2 - 3:30 pm, COSSAP

June 15, 12:30 - 2 pm, National Institute of Mental Health

June 16, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

June 16, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 16, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

June 17, 2 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 24, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

June 29, 2 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 30, 10 - 11 am, OMH

June 30, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


CLMHD Offices Closed - Memorial Day
May 31


Executive Committee Meeting
June 2: 8 - 9 am

WEBINAR: No Wrong Door - Blueprint for Implementing an Integrated Clinic: Seneca County
June 3, 10 - 11:30 am

LGU Billing Staff Call
June 3: 2 - 3 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
June 3: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
June 8: 10 - 11:30 am

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
June 10: 11 am - 12 pm

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
June 10: 1 - 2:30 pm

AOT Coordinators Meeting
June 11: 10 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
June 15: 11:30 am - 1 pm

CLMHD Membership Call
June 16: 10 - 11:30 am

WEBINAR: Blueprint for Crisis Response Continuum: Orange County
June 16: 2 - 3:30 pm

CLMHD Offices Closed - Juneteenth
June 18

WEBINAR: Blueprint for Suicide Prevention Innovation: Westchester County 
June 22, 10 - 11:30 am

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
June 22, 1 - 3 pm
Harckham, Senate Pass Legislation to Create an Office of Mental Health, Addiction and Wellness

New York State Senator Pete Harckham and his Senate colleagues approved legislation (S.5084B) yesterday that will merge two state agencies—Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS)—and create a new state agency, the Office of Mental Health, Addiction and Wellness.

“It is time for New York to have a more patient-centered agency focused on holistic care and co-occurring disorders, which is what this merger will accomplish,” said Harckham. “This new agency will engender a comprehensive ‘whole’ patient approach that will also reduce barriers to treatment and funding while also acknowledging a certain behavioral health parity.” Read more here.
DFS Announces “Mental Health Matters”: Consumer Protection Initiatives For Mental Health And Substance Use Disorder Parity In Insurance Coverage  

For Mental Health Awareness month, Superintendent of Financial Services Linda A. Lacewell on Monday announced “Mental Health Matters,” a series of initiatives to ensure that New York consumers who need mental health and substance use disorder services are not discriminated against when seeking coverage under their health insurance policies. The initiatives include a new regulation to protect consumers from provider directory misinformation and a comprehensive review of insurers for parity compliance.

Every year, more than 1 in 5 New Yorkers has symptoms of a mental health or substance use disorder. Several studies have shown that the ongoing pandemic has exacerbated mental health and substance use disorder issues, especially for people of color and low-income New Yorkers. To support all New Yorkers at this critical time, DFS is taking steps to strengthen New York consumers’ access to essential mental health and substance use disorder services.
Read more here.
Lewis County Begins Mental Health and Addiction Services Survey

The Lewis County Community Services Department opened channels to seek the opinions of county residents this week in order to formulate their annual Local Service Plan.

The department has again created an anonymous online survey to help fulfill its mission to ensure access to help programs relating to mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability challenges for county residents in 2022.

According to a news release supplied by the department, the plan is revisited every year to update the local priorities based on community needs and available services. Read more here.
Report of the National Survey to Assess First Responder Deflection Programs in Response to the Opioid Crisis

This first-of-its-kind national survey about law enforcement-led diversion and first responder deflection is built on the five pathways of deflection. This report offers major conclusions drawn from data and spells out how they may apply to a range of justice-related policies involving public health and public safety.
Groups Recover Together CEO Details Plan to Expand Value-Based MAT Model Into 5 New States

While many behavioral health providers have ambitions to enter into value-based reimbursement contracts, relatively few have managed to secure them. And even fewer have managed to build their models entirely around value-based care.

But then there’s Groups Recover Together, a group-based medication-assisted treatment (MAT) provider, which has done just that.

Founded in 2014 and headquartered in Burlington, Massachusetts, Groups treats opioid use disorder (OUD) patients out of more than 70 locations across 12 states, though it temporarily switched to all virtual care amid the coronavirus. Read more here.
Policies Should Promote Access to Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder

Some 1.6 million Americans have opioid use disorder (OUD), and the overdose crisis has worsened over the past several years, with preliminary data from 2019 and 2020 indicating that opioid overdose death rates are climbing. FDA-approved medications—specifically, buprenorphine and methadone—have been shown to reduce the risk of overdose, illicit opioid use, and the transmission of infectious disease that can accompany injection drug use. Unfortunately, only 18% of people with OUD in the United States received any of the three FDAapproved lifesaving treatments in 2019: buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Read more here.

UnitedHealthcare introduces Community-Based Collaborative to Improve Health Outcomes, Equity

UnitedHealthcare this week announced a community-based initiative called Community Catalyst that convenes a broad range of community stakeholders to identify and address specific healthcare needs of community members and residents of publicly assisted housing, people who are often difficult to reach and serve.

This expands on UnitedHealthcare's long-term collaboration with the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities. This collaboration is intended to engage public housing agencies, federally qualified health centers and community-based organizations in a mutual commitment to serve as a catalyst to close gaps in care, address health equity challenges and encourage a greater positive health impact in local communities. Read more here.
What Happens When Americans Can Finally Exhale

This time last year, the United States seemed stuck on a COVID-19 plateau. Although 1,300 Americans were dying from the disease every day, states had begun to reopen in a patchwork fashion, and an anxious nation was looking ahead to an uncertain summer. Twelve months later, the situation is very different. Cases are falling quickly. About half as many people are dying every day. Several vaccines were developed faster than experts had dared to predict, and proved to be more effective than they had dared to hope. Despite a shaky start, the vaccination campaign has been successful, and almost half of the country has received at least one shot, including 85 percent of people older than 65. As the pandemic rages on elsewhere in the world, the U.S. is eyeing a summer of reconnection and rejuvenation.

But there is another crucial difference between May 2020 and May 2021: People have now lived through 14 months of pandemic life. Millions have endured a year of grief, anxiety, isolation, and rolling trauma. Some will recover uneventfully, but for others, the quiet moments after adrenaline fades and normalcy resumes may be unexpectedly punishing. Read more here.
In Autism Treatment, Workforce Diversity is Critical to Providers’ Bottom Line

One criticism the autism sector frequently faces is in regards to a lack of cultural diversity, and specifically, whether the industry is doing enough to meet the needs of children from traditionally underrepresented communities, as well as the providers serving them.

Panelists shared those concerns during a recent discussion at the Autism Investor Summit, a three-day event held online that brought together various industry leaders, investors, providers, advocates, legislators, payers, patients and researchers. The event, which was in its third year, was put on by Los Angeles-area autism care professionals Sara Litvak and Ronit Molko. Read more here.
How Alcoholics Anonymous Survived a Pandemic-Induced Existential Crisis

On Sunday, March 14th, 2020 the North Brooklyn AA group I attended most nights at 10 p.m. switched from in-person to Zoom. Everything started off innocuous enough, with only a handful of bumps: we were still using Zoom’s free option, so at 40 minutes everyone was kicked off and had to sign back in. Nobody knew about muting their microphone. But as people got acclimated, an air of familiarity descended on the meeting. This was disrupted when a woman, close to tears, announced that someone had sent her a private message, saying they hoped she relapsed.

Incidents like these defined the early days of the pandemic, as Alcoholics Anonymous groups—autonomous, volunteer-run and leaderless—scrambled to adapt to the shifting landscape. Read more here.
Value In Addictions Treatment—What’s New? What’s Next?

Last week, we wrote about the increase in substance use during the pandemic—and the likely increase in demand for addictions treatment in the next normal. The market has responded with increasing investment, more digital tools coming to market, and provider organizations expanding their services.

Preparing for this coming wave of increased demand, payers and health plans are shifting to a focus on “value” in their addictions treatment spending—to improve access and engagement of consumers and to avoid emergency room visits and hospitalizations. There are several examples of this shift, starting with the new Medicare program. Last month, 60 provider organizations across 37 states and the District of Columbia started participating in a four-year demonstration program, Value in Opioid Use Disorder Treatment (ViT), focused on 20,000 consumers covered by Medicare fee-for-service programs as well as consumers dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. 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.

Affiliated with the NYS Association of Counties (NYSAC)