September 9, 2021
Looking for Mental Health Care and Falling Into an ‘Internet Wormhole’

58% of Young New Yorkers Didn’t Get the Help They Needed During the Pandemic. Here’s What They Faced

For five months during her freshman year, Tuli Hannan called New York City mental health providers in her mother’s insurance network after outreach to her school guidance counselor fell flat. In 2016, most therapists she contacted near her Queens home looked to put her on a six-month or longer wait list.

Hannan, who grappled with the will to live at that time, ultimately found a therapist she felt comfortable with at the end of her sophomore year, more than two years after she identified a need for support. Though her search began long before the traumas associated with COVID-19, large numbers of young New Yorkers are facing the same difficulty in accessing mental health support at a time when demand is intensifying.

“You don’t know where to narrow it down, you feel so lost,” Hannan said. “Being the person that’s struggling, you have to keep a stable mind and the patience to look for these services.” Read more here.
NYS to Create Teams to Support Young People with Mental Illness

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) has received funding to create 10 new Youth Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams across the state. Youth ACT teams support children ages 10 to 21 with mental illness and their families in the home and community settings.

Young people who are at risk of entering residential or inpatient psychiatric treatment, or transitioning home from inpatient or residential stay, can be served through Youth ACT while remaining with their families and in their communities. Read more here.
Chautauqua County Names New Mental Hygiene Director

Chautauqua County Executive Paul M. Wendel, Jr. recently announced his appointment of Carmelo Hernandez as the new Director of Community Mental Hygiene Services for the Chautauqua County Department of Mental Hygiene.

Hernandez began his position on September 7, 2021 and he fills the vacancy left by former director Patricia Brinkman, who retired in April 2021. Read more here.
Liberty Resources Shares Lessons Learned in Implementing CCBHC Expansion Grant

The Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) model means more money for behavioral health providers, better outcomes for patients and lower costs for the health care system overall.

While the model was originally only accessible to providers located in select states participating in the CCBHC Medicaid demonstration, these days, providers nationwide can become CCBHCs with the help of grant funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The thought of implementing the model — which requires providers to offer a comprehensive set of services to people with complex needs — can be intimidating. But doing so is worth the time and effort it takes to put it into practice, according to Melissa Jillson, vice president of integrated health care at Liberty Resources Inc., which was awarded a CCBHC expansion grant in 2020. Read more here.
Behavioral Health Organizations Form Collective to Improve Services in CNY

Omnes Independent Practice Association, a health care collective for central New York, will work toward improving health outcomes for individuals with mental health and substance use disorders after its formation in July, according to the association’s executives.

The Central New York Behavioral Health Care Collaborative announced the formation of Omnes in a press release. The group is a joint effort with some of the BHCC’s lead partners, including Helio Health, Liberty Resources, Upstate Cerebral Palsy and Inclusive Alliance Independent Practice Association.

The founding members will create an integrated network with a variety of services in areas such as substance use, mental health, developmental disabilities and social services. Read more here.
SAMHSA Awards $5.6 Million for Emergency Medical Services Training in America’s Rural Communities

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded $5.6 million to strengthen the role of emergency medical services (EMS) personnel in rural America.

SAMHSA’s Rural EMS Training Grant will fund the recruitment and training of EMS personnel in rural areas, with a particular focus on addressing mental health and substance use disorders in emergency settings.

In addition to training EMS personnel to meet licensing and certifications requirements, each grantee will ensure personnel are trained on mental health and substance use disorders and care for people with such disorders in emergency situations. Recipients of this funding will also acquire emergency medical services equipment, purchase FDA-approved opioid overdose antidotes, and train EMS personnel on the use of those antidotes in cases of opioid overdose emergency response. Thirty-two grantees are receiving a total of $5.6 million. Recipients of the Rural EMS Training grant can be viewed here.
The 988 Mental Health Emergency Hotline is Coming. Philanthropy Can Help Ensure its Success

The United States is facing a mental health care crisis on multiple fronts. Need, for years inadequately addressed, is surging after a year and a half of collective trauma, with access and coverage both scant. And people in crisis all too often find themselves dealing with the police instead of health professionals.

Will 988 be the secret code? The one that synchronizes the political will to improve mental healthcare and crisis response in communities everywhere?

That’s the number for the new mental health crisis hotline, as mandated by the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act passed by Congress last year. The idea is to create an alternative to the 911 emergency number that can respond to a broad range of mental health emergencies—from suicide concerns to substance-use problems—with mental health professionals and other appropriate care. As we’ve written previously, some philanthropic funders are taking an interest to ensure its success, and advocates are calling for more yet to get involved. Read more here.
How Telepsychiatry is Helping Chip Away at the Mental Health Crisis

It is no secret that the United States is experiencing a mental health crisis due to aggravated conditions from the pandemic exacerbated by of a shortage of mental health professionals, especially psychiatrists.

As a result, especially because of the effects and requirements of the pandemic, telepsychiatry has been on the rise. In fact, behavioral healthcare has even received special exemptions from prepandemic reimbursement rules from the CMS and private payers.

Dr. James R. Varrell is chief medical officer and founder of Array Behavioral Care and a practicing psychiatrist. Varrell was among the first to perform telepsychiatry – back in 1999, before the Internet, via phone lines. This was through a state-sponsored grant in New Jersey. Array Behavioral Care has been at telepsychiatry for 20 years, with a large base of virtual psychiatrists. Read more here.

Identifying Behavioral Health’s Workforce Diversity Issue, How to Fix It

As demand for behavioral health services continues to grow, providers nationwide are still contemplating the best way to recruit and retain workers amid industry-wide labor shortages. A related and pressing issue is the lack of diversity in the workforce.

While there is a significant shortage of behavioral health workers in general, clinicians of color are even harder to come by, prompting many non-white patients to distrust the system and forgo care. The disparity is a decades-long problem that does not have an easy solution.

To fix the problem and better serve patients of color, behavioral health providers first have to understand why these shortages exist. Read more here.
4 Tips to Successfully Open a Crisis Stabilization Unit

Crisis Intervention and Co-Responder Teams have headlined some of the advancements made by law enforcement when responding to people in behavioral health crisis. But even with models like these in place, most officers are still left with only two options: take someone to the emergency room or jail.

Crisis Stabilization Units, also known as crisis and drop-off centers, provide officers with an option beyond these traditional measures. They are cost-efficient alternatives that improve community safety and prioritize behavioral health needs by linking people to appropriate supportive services, potentially reducing their criminal justice involvement.

An increasing number of officials are looking to crisis centers as a criminal justice response. While providing valuable benefits, establishing these operations can be challenging. Read more here.

Attention School Districts: Register for the SPCNY GOT5 Challenge
Help spread the word! The Suicide Prevention Center of NY is asking school districts to participate in the GOT5 Challenge by taking the following steps.

  1. Send an email to students and faculty about the Crisis Text Line and include a link to a video featuring NYS students that SPCNY recently produced that shows how the Crisis Text Line works – video link.
  2. Post the SPCNY Crisis Text Line video on the school’s social media page.
  3. Promote Crisis Text Line on the school’s monument sign or in a heavily populated area in the school.

The first 200 schools to complete the Got5 Challenge will receive a complimentary gift package with Crisis Text Line resources and promotional items that you can make available to students.

September 10, 12 - 1 pm, American Association of Suicidology

September 10, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

September 14, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

September 14, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

September 15, 12 - 1 pm, CCSI

September 15, 2 - 3 pm, National Council on Aging

September 15, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

September 16, 12 - 1:30 pm, Suicide Prevention Center of NY

September 16, 12:30 - 2 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

September 16, 1 - 2:30 pm, CSG

September 22, 2 - 3 pm, National Association for Mental Wellbeing

September 23, 1 - 2:15 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

September 28, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

September 28, 29, 30, OMH/Suicide Prevention Center of NY

September 29, 11:30 am - 1 pm, FOR-NY

September 29, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

September 29, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, Center for Healthcare Strategies

September 30, 10 am - 6 pm, American Association of Suicidology


LGU Clinic Operators Call
September 14: 10 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
September 21: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Membership Call
September 22: 9 - 10:30 am

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
September 30: 1 - 2:30 pm


LGU Billing Staff Call
October 7: 2 - 3 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
October 7: 3 - 4 pm

October 11

LGU Clinic Operators Call
October 12: 10 - 11:30 am

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
October 14; 11 am - 12 pm

Children & Families Committee Meeting
October 19: 11:30 am - 1 pm

CLMHD Fall Full Membership Meeting
October 21-22 in Saratoga Springs, NY. Virtual option will be available.

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee
October 27: 1 - 3 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)