April 28, 2022
White House Releases 2022 National Drug Control Strategy that Outlines Comprehensive Path Forward to Address Addiction and the Overdose Epidemic

Last Thursday, President Biden sent his Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy to Congress at a time when drug overdoses have taken a heartbreaking toll, claiming 106,854 lives in the most recent 12-month period. The Strategy delivers on the call to action in President Biden’s Unity Agenda through a whole-of-government approach to beat the overdose epidemic.

The Strategy focuses on two critical drivers of the epidemic: untreated addiction and drug trafficking. It instructs federal agencies to prioritize actions that will save lives, get people the care they need, go after drug traffickers’ profits, and make better use of data to guide all these efforts. Read more here.

‘It’s Life or Death’: The Mental Health Crisis Among U.S. Teens

Depression, self-harm and suicide are rising among American adolescents. For one 13-year-old, the despair was almost too much to take.

One evening last April, an anxious and free-spirited 13-year-old girl in suburban Minneapolis sprang furious from a chair in the living room and ran from the house — out a sliding door, across the patio, through the backyard and into the woods.

Moments earlier, the girl’s mother, Linda, had stolen a look at her daughter’s smartphone. The teenager, incensed by the intrusion, had grabbed the phone and fled. (The adolescent is being identified by an initial, M, and the parents by first name only, to protect the family’s privacy.) Read more here.
Why a Focus on Behavioral Health is Key to Improving Quality Measures

Since the passage of the Medicare Improvements for Patients & Providers Act in 2008, the U.S. healthcare system has been moving towards value-based care (VBC) which encourages health providers to improve care quality by reimbursing them based on successful outcomes rather than individual medical services. As part of this VBC model, hospitals and health systems must store, track, and analyze a large amount of quality-related data for compliance and reimbursement purposes.

Most of the data required by CMS focuses on physical issues, such as the rate of readmission for COPD patients, hospital return days for heart failure patients, or the rate of emergency department visits for patients receiving outpatient chemotherapy. While there is a wealth of research on behavioral health and physical condition comorbidities, behavioral health is still primarily treated in a silo, rather than being viewed as a critical route to improving quality measures. Read more here.
Young Advocates Take the Lead to Curb Campus Suicide

When the campus alert system at the University of California at Los Angeles notified students of a possible shooter this February and directed them to shelter in place, senior Meera Varma found herself surrounded by frightened students. She told the alarmed undergrads hunkered down in the dorm it was okay to be scared – a technique she’d learned in a mental health training.

The tool that Varma used, which goes by the acronym VAR – validate, appreciate, refer – was created by a national mental health organization for students called Active Minds. The group teaches thousands of students the crisis intervention technique each year in 600 campus chapters. Read more here.
Mental Health vs. Primary Care: How Americans Are Using Telehealth

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, many Americans have been receiving health care via telehealth. The question arises: Who are the health care professionals on the other end of all these video links and phone calls?

According to new evidence from private insurance claims data, the top specialty providing telehealth services nationally this past January was social worker. Because the most common telehealth service social workers provide is psychotherapy, this is just one sign of how prevalent the provision of mental health services through telehealth has been, as our country continues to grapple with the pandemic and its impact on many fronts. Read more here.

HHS Announces $226.5 Million to Launch Community Health Worker Training Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), recently announced the availability of $226.5 million in American Rescue Plan funding to launch the Community Health Worker Training Program. This new program will increase the number of community health workers who play a critical role in connecting people to care, including COVID care; mental health and substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services; chronic disease care; and other important health services. Read more here.
HHS Awards Nearly $105 Million to States and Territories to Strengthen Crisis Call Center Services in Advance of July Transition to 988

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is awarding nearly $105 million in grant funding, provided by the American Rescue Plan, to 54 states and territories in advance of the transition of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline from the current 10-digit number to the 988 three-digit dialing code in July. Strengthening our crisis care infrastructure is a core priority of President Biden’s Mental Health Strategy, which he announced at the State of the Union as part of his national Unity Agenda. Improving 988 readiness and responsiveness is a critical step to realizing this objective. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Announces Creation of the New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development

Governor Kathy Hochul on Tuesday announced the creation of the New York State Office of Strategic Workforce Development, which will be charged with improving the State's workforce development programs and practices to better align with the needs and priorities of today's employers. The Governor first proposed the new office in her State of the State address earlier this year and committed funding that was approved in the FY2023 budget. Governor Hochul is delivering on her commitment to strengthen the skills and talents of New York's workforce and help grow the economy. The $350 million investment in state funding will support wide-reaching, historic and coordinated investment in workforce development across state agencies and authorities and includes $150 million in multi-year funding for new grant programs that will primarily support employer-driven, high skilled workforce training programs. Read more here.
Caring for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Rachel Reingold, then a third-year student at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, thought she knew plenty about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs).

She was already an active volunteer for Einstein’s Buddies program, which allows medical students to help with the treatment of children with IDDs at the Rose F. Kennedy University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities.

But it wasn’t until Reingold attended a monthly meeting of adult self-advocates with IDDs that she realized the unique health care barriers that they experience. Read more here.

The Workforce Challenge—Retirements, Wage Rates & Inflation 

For any employer, the most recent U.S. unemployment numbers didn’t offer any prospect of relief to the tight workforce situation. The overall U.S. unemployment rate dipped to 3.6% in March according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This is just one-tenth of a percentage point above its pre-pandemic level and the lowest in over 50 years. And every ethnic and racial group saw its unemployment rate drop in March.

In response, hourly rates at many organizations and for many positions are on the rise. Organizations as diverse as Wal-Mart, Amazon, and Verizon are raising pay rates. Yet, despite the wage rate increases in 2021, with inflation, the average worker had a 2.4% pay decrease. Pressure on wages is likely to continue. Read more here.

Spring 2022 Issue of "Behavioral Health News" Released

Click here to read the latest issue.
Can Medicaid Help Improve Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Correctional Facilities?

Individuals involved with the criminal legal system have high rates of opioid use and are disproportionately low income, meaning that the majority of them qualify for Medicaid coverage. But federal law prohibits Medicaid from paying for health services, including opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment, during incarceration, or the confinement of an individual in prison or jail, a prohibition often referred to as the “inmate exclusion.”

At the same time, few jails and prisons provide medications for OUD—methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone—which are the standard of care for the condition, regardless of treatment setting. But individuals who are incarcerated need access to these medications more than ever. Read more here.


April 28, 2 - 3:30 pm, U.S. DOJ Bureau of Justice Assistance's Academic Training to Inform Police Responses Initiative

April 28, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

April 29, 12:30 - 2 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 2, 1 - 2 pm, Bipartisan Policy Center

May 2, 3 - 4 pm, CSG Justice Center

May 3, 9:30 am - 2:30 pm, The Glen Sanders Mansion

May 3, 10 - 11 am, OMH

May 4, 1 - 2 pm, NIHCM Foundation

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

May 4, 2 - 3:15 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

May 4, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

May 5, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

May 11, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

May 12, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

May 16, 1 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

May 18, 12:30 - 3:45 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 18, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

May 18, 2 - 3 pm, HANYS

May 19, 1 - 2 pm, Qualifacts

May 24, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

May 24, 2 - 3:15 pm, CSG Justice Center

May 25, 1 - 2 pm, Camden Coalition


Executive Committee Meeting
May 4: 8 am

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

Addiction Services and Recovery Committee Meeting
May 12: 11 am - 12 pm

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
May 12: 1 - 2:30 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
May 12: 3 - 4 pm

CLMHD Membership Call
May 18: 9 - 10:30 am

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

CLMHD Office Closed - Memorial Day
May 30
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)