July 22, 2021
State Lawmakers Make Formal Call for Overdose Emergency Declaration

More than two dozen Democratic lawmakers in the state Senate on Wednesday formally called on President Joe Biden and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to declare a state of emergency at the federal and state levels amid a sharp rise in overdose deaths in the last year.

The letter was released by state Sen. Peter Harckham, the top lawmaker on the Senate Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Committee, who earlier this month made a similar call for the state of emergency.

Such a declaration would enable state and federal officials to gain access to resources to address the problem. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention earlier this month found overdose deaths between 2019 and 2020 increased to more than 93,000 people amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more here.
Attorney General James Announces Proposed $26 Billion Global Agreement with Opioid Distributors/ Manufacturer

New York Attorney General Letitia James on Wednesday announced an historic proposed $26 billion agreement that will help deliver desperately needed relief to communities across New York and the rest of the nation struggling with opioid addiction. The proposed agreement will resolve claims against three of the nation’s largest drug distributors — McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health Inc., and Amerisource Bergen Drug Corporation — as well as one of the nation’s largest drug manufacturers — Johnson & Johnson (J&J) — over the companies’ roles in creating and fueling the opioid epidemic. New York communities ravaged by opioids will specifically receive up to $1.25 billion to fund prevention, treatment, and recovery programs (the terms of New York’s specific settlements were previously announced with both the three distributors and with J&J). Additionally, the proposed agreement requires significant industry changes that aim to end the opioid epidemic and prevent this type of crisis from occurring again. Read more here.
State Office of Mental Health and Upstate Medical University Announce Expansion of Services for Children with Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Issues

The NYS Office of Mental Health (OMH) and SUNY Upstate Medical University have announced an expansion of services for children who have a developmental disability as well as behavioral health needs. Under the expansion, Upstate will develop a specialized inpatient unit for children who are dually-diagnosed and will expand the current child and adolescent inpatient bed capacity at OMH’s Hutchings Psychiatric Center. The new specialized dual diagnosis unit will serve children and youth from 12 to 17 years old who are at risk of being separated from their families. Upstate’s new program will allow for the total capacity to increase from 23 to 29 beds. Read more here.
As Youth Return To Classrooms, MHA Analysis Finds Vast Majority Of States Unprepared To Address Youth Mental Health Crisis; Calls For More Education, Supports, And Services In Schools

As schools prepare for students to return to classrooms next month, a new report released today by Mental Health America finds the overwhelming majority of states are unprepared to address the current youth mental health crisis in schools. The analysis finds that mental health education in schools is only required in a handful of states and most states do not meet recommended ratios for school mental health personnel. It also finds that only 14 states are fully using Medicaid to fund mental health services in schools, a practice that increases accessibility and promotes equity. Of the states that do have policies involving school-based mental health, the report finds those regulations are weak and not fully enforced.

The report, Addressing the Youth Mental Health Crisis: The Urgent Need for More Education, Services, and Supports, serves as a call to action for policymakers, school administrators, students, and other mental health advocates to address the lack of education, supports, and services in schools, particularly in light of the current national crisis in youth mental health. Read more here.
Minority Mental Health Worsened During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Nearly half of all Black, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and LGBTQ+ individuals say they have personally experienced increased mental health challenges over the past 12 months, but few received treatment, according to a new poll by the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Minorities and LGBTQ+ also say they have thought more about their own substance use challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, though barriers to access prevented many from receiving needed care. Read more here.
HHS Announces $103 Million from American Rescue Plan to Strengthen Resiliency and Address Burnout in the Health Workforce

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), announced the availability of an estimated $103 million in American Rescue Plan funding over a three-year period to reduce burnout and promote mental health among the health workforce. These investments, which take into particular consideration the needs of rural and medically underserved communities, will help health care organizations establish a culture of wellness
among the health and public safety workforce and will support training efforts that build resiliency for those at the beginning of their health careers. Read more here.

Inside NYC’s Original Social Club For Mental Health

Madelyn Joseph first joined Fountain House, a social club for people with mental health issues based in Midtown Manhattan, because she needed a way to fill her time. She had dropped out of college at SUNY New Paltz and wasn’t working.

“It was not really good to have too much free time,” said Joseph, 25, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, ADHD, anxiety, PTSD and autism.

Five years later, she is contributing to the Fountain House community in ways big and small, from digitizing files in the Welcome Center to writing about fashion for the in-house newspaper. The clubhouse helped Joseph earn her associate’s degree and, during the pandemic, kept her connected to the community via virtual programming. While at home, Joseph, who is trans, launched a new group online called Queer Council with the goal of making Fountain House more welcoming for LGBTQ members. Read more here.
How Mental Health First Responders in an Oregon City 'De-escalate' Conflict and Save Lives

Ebony Morgan's father was killed in a police encounter when she was 5 years old.

The experience and its aftermath left Morgan, 30, distrustful of armed officers. But now she's found a way to partner with them through a program in Eugene, Ore., that has evolved into a model for law enforcement crisis response in American cities.

Dubbed CAHOOTS -- Crisis Assistance Helping Out on the Streets -- it's an effort created and overseen by Eugene's nonprofit White Bird Clinic, a social services center, and has been primarily funded through police departments in Eugene and Springfield, Ore., since 1989. And it's grabbing the attention of law enforcement agencies and communities across the country. Read more here.

Access, Ulster County Partner On Mental Health Urgent Care

Kingston, New York is now home to a mental health, substance use urgent care facility. It comes as the county is reeling from an escalation of mental health and drug addiction issues during COVID and the reduction of related inpatient beds.

The June opening of the Ulster Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care came as a partnership between nonprofit Hudson Valley-based Access: Supports for Living and Ulster County, where Pat Ryan is county executive.

“We’re coming off of one of the hardest years, of course, in all of our lifetimes but, in particular, we’ve seen in Ulster County a real exacerbation of the mental health and addiction crises,” Ryan says. “We had suicides in Ulster County double from the previous year, fatal overdoses up 93 percent in Ulster County.” Read more here.
Optum Behavioral Care CEO: Value-Based Care Is The Payment Model We Want To Get To

Amid pervasive workforce shortages and a growing demand for services, Optum Behavioral Health is working to reimagine the way behavioral health care is delivered. CEO Katherine Hobbs Knutson, who joined the company about a year ago, is leading the charge.

“That divide between … what exists in the field versus what people actually have access to is a wide gap that I want to … narrow that so that we can start to make a dent in this real epidemic that we have in our society,” Hobbs Knutson said.

She made those comments last month during the Going Digital: Behavioral Health Tech Summit 2021, a virtual event put on by a group of behavioral health entrepreneurs, investors, technologists and designers. Read more here.

July 22, 2 - 3:30 pm, COSSAP

July 22, 2 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

July 23, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC

July 26, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

July 27, 11:30 am - 1 pm, NASMHPD & SAMHSA

July 27, 1 - 2 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

July 27, 1 - 2 pm, The College for Behavioral Health Leadership

July 27, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

July 28, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

July 28, 1 - 2 pm, OMH & NYAPRS

July 29, 2:30 - 4, CSG Justice Center

July 29, 3 - 4:30 pm, SAMHSA Homeless & Housing Resource Center

July 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC


Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
August 5: 1 - 2:30 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
August 5: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
August 10: 10 - 11:30 am

Executive Committee Meeting
August 11: 8 - 9 am

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

Children & Families Committee Meeting
August 17: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Membership Call
August 18: 9 - 10:30 am

SAVE THE DATE: CLMHD Fall Full Membership Meeting
October 21-22 in Saratoga Springs, NY
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)