July 8, 2021
Do Mental Health Crises Need Police? This Hilltowns Pilot Aims to Find Out

When Katie Flanigan and her team get a call concerning a person in mental or emotional distress, they arrive in an unmarked vehicle and unremarkable clothes. No sirens, no lights, no uniforms, badges or guns.

Just people there to help.

“It’s intentional,” said Flanigan, clinical director of emergency services and training for Albany County’s Department of Mental Health. “We don’t want to scare people away or tell the neighbors what’s happening.”

Flanigan heads up the county’s 35-year-old mobile crisis program, which formed in response to the 1984 killing of Jessie Davis, a mentally ill man who was gunned down in his Albany apartment by police after neighbors called about a disturbance. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: A Mental Health Crisis Is Not a Crime
Ulster County, Family of Woodstock Launch Transitional Housing Initiative for People Entering or Leaving Drug Treatment
Ulster County will allocate $80,000 through a partnership with Family of Woodstock to administer housing vouchers for local hotel stays for people who are entering or leaving substance-abuse treatment, according to County Executive Pat Ryan.

The housing vouchers aim to assist residents successfully entering treatment or returning to the community after successfully completing treatment, Ryan's office said. Residents will allowed up to two weeks of respite housing with referrals being made through local treatment providers and placements being connected to Ulster County's High Risk Mitigation Team. Read more here.
Tonko, Trone Introduce Major Bipartisan Bill to Address Addiction Epidemic

WASHINGTON—Representatives Paul D. Tonko (D-NY) announced today that he has introduced his bipartisan, bicameral Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) 3.0 Act with bill sponsor David Trone (D-MD) aimed at mitigating the effects of COVID-19 on the addiction epidemic and increasing funding for prevention, education, research, treatment and recovery. The bill builds on previous iterations of CARA and adds Rep. Tonko’s Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment (MAT) Act to eliminate the outdated bureaucratic requirement known as the “x-waiver” currently blocking millions of highly-trained health professionals from prescribing proven, lifesaving addiction treatment, to their patients. Read more here.
Telehealth Services Reduce ER Visits for Individuals with Disabilities

A New York-based managed care plan says telehealth services for members with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) have helped lead to fewer emergency room visits and reduced overall costs for care.

Partners Health Plan (PHP), which provides healthcare services to some 1,750 individuals with I/DD in downstate New York, partnered with telehealth company StationMD to offer connected health services to roughly 1,100 members.

In a press release announcing results of the 12-month pilot program, the telehealth service fielded nearly 700 calls from PHP members throughout the year and succeeded in resolving 90 percent of the health inquiries. Read more here.
The BHN Summer 2021 Issue is Now Online: "Trauma-Informed Care and Policy"
Click here to read the BHN Summer 2021 Issue.
The Challenges of Bipolar Disorder in Young People

I was doing research and interviews on bipolar disorder when notices appeared in my Brooklyn neighborhood about a 21-year-old man who had been missing for a week. He was described as “bipolar” and “may be experiencing a manic episode.”

It took me back nearly seven decades when the state police in Texas called my father to say they had found his brother, my favorite uncle, wandering on a highway. How he got there from Brooklyn we never learned. He had apparently suffered a psychotic break and ended up in a New York State mental hospital that administered electric shock treatments but did little else to help him re-enter society effectively.

Not until decades later did he receive a correct diagnosis of manic depression, now known as bipolar disorder. Read more here.

How Behavioral Health Executives Can Improve Workforce Shortages, Access

The pandemic has worsened the nation’s overall behavioral health, underscoring industry-wide workforce shortages and access issues — as well as the dire need to fix them.

“The pandemic has been a shock to the system in all sorts of ways,” David Rabinowitz, an Atlanta area senior manager for Deloitte Consulting, said. “We’re just really recognizing the tremendous burden that the country faces around the topics of behavioral and mental health and wellbeing.”

Rabinowitz made those comments during a June 10 mental health virtual briefing hosted by Modern Healthcare. There, he and other panelists touched on the state of the nation’s behavioral health and the responsibility C-suite executives have in improving it. Read more here.

Health Officials Warn Historic Addiction Treatment Funding Burdened By Federal Bureaucracy

SAMHSA's controversial questionnaire aims to assess addiction program performance. But many say it also re-traumatizes an already vulnerable population.

Five days a week, a van parks outside the Baltimore City Detention Center and offers on-demand access to buprenorphine, a gold-standard medication for opioid use disorder that’s been shown to reduce the risk of death and health complications from injecting.

For 17 years, the Behavioral Health Leadership Institute, or BHLI, the nonprofit operating the service, has innovated a “low-threshold” (meaning low-barrier) treatment model in which people can leave their first visit with a prescription. That means no required group attendance or abstention from drugs. It also means that the organization covers pharmacy co-pays and attaches Polaroid pictures to the prescription in lieu of photo identification. “Nobody needs an appointment. People just show up,” said Deborah Agus, executive director of BHLI. “We’re about as no-barrier as you can be.”

To ensure that the program, called Project Connections at Re-Entry, could continue providing on-demand access to buprenorphine, BHLI has been forced to turn down federal funding — twice. Read more here.

July 13, 1- 2 pm, American Psychiatric Association

July 14, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

July 14, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 14, 3 - 4:30 pm, Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts

July 15, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 16, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 20, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 20, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

July 21, 1 - 2 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

July 22, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

July 21, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

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

July 23, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC

July 28, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

July 30, 12 - 1:30 pm, NAADAC


Agency Day: OASAS
July 12: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Agency Day: OMH
July 13: 9:30 - 11:30 am

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

WEBINAR: Blueprint for Diversifying Funding Sources: Wayne County
July 14: 2 - 3:30 pm

Agency Day: OPWDD
July 15: 9:30 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
July 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm


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)