October 28, 2021
Hochul Hints at More State Prison Closures in New York

New York may close more prison facilities amid a decline in the number of people who are incarcerated, but Gov. Kathy Hochul on Wednesday suggested the sites could be converted to help people with substance abuse treatment.

Hochul during her weekly COVID-19 briefing in New York City acknowledged the effect prison closures could have on a region's economy, especially in parts of upstate New York. Read more here.
A New Index Measures the Extent and Depth of Addiction Stigma

“I finally build up the courage to tell the doctor I need help. Staring at the floor, I tell him the truth about how much I am drinking and how many pills I am taking. As I look up, our eyes meet. His face is aghast. He quickly looks away. With his back turned to me, he mumbles something to the effect, ‘We don’t treat those issues here.'”

That is a story from Chad Fahlberg — a person in long-term recovery recounting his experience facing stigma due to his substance use disorder.

Addiction stigma is a set of unfair, negative, and often discriminatory beliefs directed toward individuals with substance use disorders. These views can erode their self-worth, create social isolation, and reduce access to care, which exacerbates the problem. It also clouds the nation’s ability to coalesce around meaningful solutions, including treatment, harm reduction, and recovery supports and services. Read more here.
Advocates Say Urgent Action Needed to Curb New York's Overdose Crisis

Advocates and individuals impacted by addiction are calling on New York lawmakers and government officials to make significant investments in the state’s behavioral health system, now that new funding streams are available, to curb the alarming rise in statewide overdose deaths.

At a public hearing last Wednesday in Albany to review the impact of COVID-19 on the overdose crisis, advocates warned lawmakers that onetime funding increases and initiatives will not be sufficient to address the growing crisis, which has been exacerbated by the elimination of services throughout the pandemic and an ongoing worker shortage. Read more here.

Few 911 Operators Trained to Handle Behavioral Health Crises: Survey

A Pew survey published Tuesday found that most 911 operators lack training in how to handle behavioral health crises and have limited options in responding to crisis calls in general.

Despite expert recommendations, few of the call centers Pew reached had offered training for responding to behavioral health crises or used behavioral health clinicians to help them handle incoming crisis calls, the survey found.

Pew sent questionnaires to 233 call centers nationwide and received 37 responses total. Read more here.

NYC Tried To Remove NYPD From 911 Mental Health Emergencies—But It’s Had Little Success

After launching in parts of Harlem this summer, New York City is planning to expand a pilot program that enables 911 to dispatch teams that are led by social workers to mental health calls instead of the NYPD. The B-HEARD program will cover all of Harlem by early November before expanding into the Bronx.

But new data released last Friday suggests that even as the program’s reach grows, 911 operators still send the overwhelming majority of mental health calls — about three of every four — to police teams. It’s a protocol that New Yorkers with mental illness, their family members and mental health advocates have fought to change in recent years. Read more here.

A Hybrid Funding and Coverage Model to Ensure Universal Access to Mobile Crisis Services

Recently, the federal government has provided new funding opportunities to states to improve access to behavioral health crisis services, including mobile crisis services. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) gives states the option of covering community mobile crisis intervention services in Medicaid for five years beginning in April 2022.

As states review the opportunities available to begin, enhance or expand mobile crisis intervention services under ARP, policymakers may further consider a hybrid funding model that provides mobile crisis providers with a consistent and steady stream of funding to ensure they are able to maintain 24/7 availability and respond in a timely manner to all individuals in crisis, regardless of insurance status. Read more here.
Healing from the Inside Out: A TTI Short Film on Trauma-Informed Care in Correctional Facilities

For the past several years NASMHPD has been working with New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision on a unique pilot project to bring trauma aware and responsive services to prison settings. Starting with seven facilities serving diverse populations (veterans, under 21 year-olds, general population, women and men), staff received training in understanding the impact of trauma on our lives and information on the program being offered to incarcerated individuals. Clinicians were trained in a psychosocial intervention (TAMAR) and received regular consultation (both virtual and on-site) from NASMHPD staff. Currently, this program is being expanded to all NY DOCCS facilities.

Click here to watch a video showcasing the experience of TAMAR participants and correctional staff from NY DOCCS. See the TAMAR Facilitator's Manual.
Pediatricians Say the Mental Health Crisis among Kids has become a National Emergency

A coalition of the nation's leading experts in pediatric health has issued an urgent warning declaring the mental health crisis among children so dire that it has become a national emergency.

The declaration was penned by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Children's Hospital Association and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, which together represent more than 77,000 physicians and 200 children's hospitals. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: Is the Pandemic Rewiring Kids’ Brains?
Evaluation Of The Eight Original CCBHC Demonstration States Reveals Mixed Results

Of the eight states participating in a time-limited demonstration to establish certified community behavioral health clinics (CCBHC) in 2016, the evaluation data is mixed. The eight states participating in the CCBHC demonstration that started in mid-2017 were Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. During fiscal years 2017 through 2019, the eight states reported about $1.2 billion in Medicaid CCBHC expenditures, with federal expenditures of about $900 million, and state expenditures of about $300 million. Read more here.
Understaffed State Psychiatric Facilities Leave Mental Health Patients in Limbo

Many patients dealing with mental health crises are having to wait several days in an ER until a bed becomes available at one of Georgia’s five state psychiatric hospitals, as public facilities nationwide feel the pinch of the pandemic.

“We’re in crisis mode,’’ said Dr. John Sy, an emergency medicine physician in Savannah. “Two weeks ago, we were probably holding eight to 10 patients. Some of them had been there for days.”

The shortage of beds in Georgia’s state psychiatric facilities reflects a national trend linked to staffing deficits that are cramping services in the public mental health system. The bed capacity problem, which has existed for years, has worsened during the covid-19 pandemic, creating backlogs of poor or uninsured patients as well as people in jails who are awaiting placement in state facilities.

Many state workers, such as nurses, are leaving those psychiatric units for much higher pay — with temp agencies or other employers — and less stressful conditions. Read more here.

It’s Time the Behavioral Health Field Expand Their Definition of Lived Experience

In anticipation of 988—the three-digit number for mental health, substance use, and suicidal crisis telecom companies must make live by July 16, 2022—communities throughout the United States are examining their crisis systems. “They want to ensure there are rapid and appropriate responses in place that match people’s needs,” says Amy Watson, Ph.D., professor of social work in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare at the University of Wisconsin. She’s also the president of CIT International. The Crisis Intervention Team model is a first-responder, police-based crisis intervention designed to reduce the role of law enforcement in behavioral health crisis response. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Signs Bill Requiring Annual Report on Substance Use Disorder among Incarcerated Individuals

Governor Kathy Hochul last week signed legislation (S2209/A540) that focuses on updating the Office of Addiction Services and Supports' guidelines on substance abuse reports, requiring additional reporting regarding the most commonly used substances as well as what treatments individuals receive. It will also require annual reports from state correctional facilities.
Read more here.

Governor Hochul Announces $9.5 Million in Federal Funding to Support the Delivery of Addiction Prevention Services to Youth, Families and Communities Across New York State

Governor Hochul last week announced the availability of $9.5 million to expand evidence-based practices for substance use disorder prevention services to youth, families and communities in New York State. This federal funding will provide greater access to prevention strategies in communities across the state, and will allow providers to continue to support both the delivery of new prevention services through start-up funding, and the continued delivery of existing services through updated programs. Providers may also use this funding to upgrade their IT systems, such as improved hardware and software, as well as subscriptions videoconferencing platforms. Read more here.
USDA: $1.15 Billion Available to Help People Living in Rural Communities Access High-Speed Internet

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack last week announced a significant expansion of access to high-speed internet, health care and educational services for millions of rural Americans nationwide.

Background: ReConnect Program
Secretary Vilsack spoke about USDA’s commitment to helping rural Americans get improved access to broadband and health care during a visit to the newly renovated emergency department at Hammond Henry Hospital. The project was financed in part by a USDA loan.

He announced that on November 24 USDA will begin accepting applications for up to $1.15 billion in loans and grants to expand the availability of broadband in rural areas. USDA is making the funding available through the ReConnect Program.

October 28, 3 - 4 pm, The National Center for Complex Health and Social Needs

October 28, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

October 29, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

October 31 - November 1, HANYS

November 2 - 3, 9:30 am - 12 pm, NYS Health Foundation

November 2, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 2, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

November 2, 3 - 4 pm, PsychU

November 2, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 4, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 4, 2 - 3 pm, HANYS

November 5, 9 am - 2 pm, Evidence Based Treatment Dissemination Center

November 9, 12:30 - 1:30 pm, NYAPRS

November 9, 1 - 2:30 pm, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

November 10, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

November 10, 6 - 7 pm, PsychU

November 16, 10 - 11 am, OMH

November 16, 2 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

November 17, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

November 17, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

November 18, 2 - 3:30 pm, National Association of Counties

November 18, Putnam County

November 30, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

November 30, 2 - 3 pm, Camden Coalition


November 2

LGU Billing Staff Call
November 4: 2 - 3 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
November 5: 10 - 11:30 am

Agency Day: OASAS
November 8: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Agency Day: OMH
November 9: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Agency Day: OPWDD
November 10: 9:30 - 11:30 am

November 11

November 25 - 26

Children & Families Committee Meeting
November 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm
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)