WATCH: "Finding Home" A Discussion on Mental Health and Housing in Buffalo

One of the largest issues individuals with mental illness face is the availability and accessibility of housing. The lack of safe and affordable place to live is a tremendous barrier to recovery and to the prevention of homelessness, hospitalization, and movement through the criminal justice system. Unhoused individuals living with mental illness face a variety of obstacles that are intersected and exacerbated by the lack of affordable and accessible services in the region.

As part of its Mental Health Initiative, WBFO News Director Dave Debo hosted “Finding Home,” a panel discussion on issues surrounding the lack of housing options for those living with mental illness. This conversation included an overview of the current work to combat the closing of housing options, the housing landscape in the greater Buffalo area for individuals with mental illness, and effects of the housing shortages.

The panel included Mark O’Brien, Erie County Commissioner of Mental Health, Christine Slocum,Housing Coordinator at Coordinated Care Services, Inc. (CCSI) serving Erie County Department of Mental Health,Kelly Dumas, LCSW, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer at BestSelf Behavioral Health; and community member and advocate Patricia Seifert.
Governor Cuomo Announces Signing of Legislation Expanding Access to Veterans Treatment Courts and State Actions to Honor Veterans

Governor Cuomo on Tuesday announced he has signed legislation (S.1957-A/A.5719-A) expanding access to Veterans Treatment Courts across New York State, allowing qualifying justice-involved veterans in counties that lack a Veterans Treatment Court to have their cases transferred into an existing Veterans Treatment Court in a neighboring county. The Governor highlighted the need for this expansion in his 2021 State of the State agenda. Read more here.

April 6, 3 - 4:30 pm, OMH

April 7, 10 11 am, OMH

April 11, 10 - 11 am, OMH

April 13, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Behavioral Health

April 14, 2 - 3 pm, OMH

April 14, 2 - 3:15 pm, COSSAP

April 15, 1 - 2 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

April 16, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 19, 2 - 3:30 pm, CCSI

April 20, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 22, 2 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

April 21 - 22, CCSI

April 27, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

April 29, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 13, 1:30 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 18, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center


Executive Committee Meeting
April 7: 8 - 9 am, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
April 8: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Local Services Planning for DCSs (Webinar)
April 9: 9:30 - 11:30 am, GTM

LGU Clinic Operators Call
April 13: 10 - 11:30 am, GTM

Developmental Disabilities Meeting
April 15: 1 - 2:30 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
April 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Membership Call
April 21: 9 - 10:30 am, GTM


Executive Committee Meeting
May 5: 8 - 9 am, GTM

LGU Billing Staff Call
May 6: 2 - 3 pm, GTM

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

CLMHD Spring Full Membership Business Meeting
May 11: 2 - 5 pm, GTM

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
May 13: 11 am - 12 pm, GTM

Children & Families Committee Meeting
May 18: 11:30 am - 1 pm, GTM

CLMHD Offices Closed - Memorial Day
May 31

Contact CLMHD for all Call In and GoToMeeting (GTM) information, 518.462.9422 
Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Legalizing Adult-Use Cannabis

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday signed legislation (S.854-A/A.1248-A/A.1248-A) legalizing adult-use cannabis, fulfilling a key component of his 2021 State of the State agenda. The bill signing comes after the Governor, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie announced this past Sunday, March 28, that an agreement had been reached on the legislation. The bill establishes the Office of Cannabis Management to implement a comprehensive regulatory framework that covers medical, adult-use and cannabinoid hemp. The bill also expands New York State's existing medical marijuana and cannabinoid hemp programs. The legislation provides licensing for marijuana producers, distributors, retailers, and other actors in the cannabis market, and creates a social and economic equity program to assist individuals disproportionately impacted by cannabis enforcement that want to participate in the industry. Read more here.

Cityblock Health Gets $192 Million Funding Boost To Turbocharge Care For Low-Income Patients

Toyin Ajayi remembers when she first realized the U.S. healthcare system was truly broken. She was a primary care resident at a community health center in Boston, when a patient, who hadn’t seen a doctor in 30 years, entered the room. Ajayi sped through the patient’s family history and chief complaints, then wrote a prescription. “I almost let her leave the exam room—literally my hand was on the door—and the hairs on the back of my neck kind of stood up,” she recalls. Ajayi decided to send the patient for more testing. It turned out the woman had two different cancers but had been too scared to bring up her symptoms. “I remember thinking, ‘Am I a terrible person? Did I fail this patient?’” she recalls. “No. Actually I'm part of a system that was designed for this patient to be failed.”

As the chief health officer of Brooklyn-based Cityblock Health, Ajayi, 40, and her cofounders CEO Iyah Romm, 35, and head of product Bay Gross, 30, are shifting the incentive structure for taking care of low-income patients with complex healthcare needs. Read more here.
Ride Health to Provide Non-Emergency Transportation for Complex Patient Populations Across New York State Through Partnership With IMSNY

Ride Health, coordinating smarter transportation for every patient need, is partnering with Innovative Management Solutions NY (IMSNY), a joint venture established to streamline access to care for complex and vulnerable populations in New York City and the Hudson Valley.

IMSNY was established by Coordinated Behavioral Care (CBC) and Coordinated Behavioral Health Services (CBHS) in April 2019, leveraging strength in numbers through shared resources, knowledge, and expertise to provide meaningful analytics and operational efficiency. Through the partnership, these two Independent Practice Associations (IPAs) have access to Ride Health's transportation coordination platform to ensure safe, reliable, and cost-effective access to care for IMSNY's 160,000 attributed Medicaid lives across 80 behavioral health agencies in the region. Read more here.
Funding Opportunity: First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grants

Application Due Date: Monday, May 17, 2021

SAMHSA is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2021 First Responders-Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act Grants (Short Title: FR-CARA). The purpose of this program is to allow first responders and members of other key community sectors to administer a drug or device approved or cleared under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) for emergency reversal of known or suspected opioid overdose. Recipients will train and provide resources to first responders and members of other key community sectors at the state, tribal, and local governmental levels on carrying and administering a drug or devices approved or cleared under the FD&C Act for emergency reversal of known or suspected opioid overdose. Recipients will also establish processes, protocols, mechanisms for referral to appropriate treatment and recovery support services, and safety around fentanyl, carfentanil, and other dangerous licit and illicit drugs.

SAMHSA plans to issue approximately 15–20 awards of up to $250,000–$800,000 per year for up to 4 years.

Mountain Top Cares Coalition Awarded a Grant from Greene County Mental Health

In 2020, Mountain Top Cares Coalition (MCC) was one of several Greene County organizations that received funding from The HEALing Communities Study (HCS), a grant awarded to Greene County Mental Health, to combat the opioid crisis. Led by Columbia University, this project is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It aims to decrease opioid overdose deaths in Greene County and 15 other New York communities by 40 percent over the course of three years.

Understanding that a location is essential to the success of MCC’s mission, to help Greene County residents struggling with opioid use disorder, the Community Impact Funds will support renting a small office, purchasing computers, installation of telephone and internet services for telehealth, as well as hiring a peer counselor. Read more here.
New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) to Develop Social Determinants of Health Initiative

HHS awarded NYeC and a United Way of New York State subsidiary for their social determinants of health (SDOH) data initiative.

The New York eHealth Collaborative (NYeC) and 2-1-1 New York, Inc. (2-1-1 NY), an affiliate of United Way of New York State, will work to promote patient data exchange through social determinants of health (SDOH) data.

This work comes as a part of the organizations’ Social Care Referrals Challenge award granted by the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS).

“We are thrilled to be partnering in this important work that is sure to benefit so many New Yorkers and further the mission of both 2-1-1 and United Way,” said Mary Shaheen, vice president of United Way of New York State (UWNYS) and president of 2-1-1 New York.

The two organizations plan to establish a framework that supports patient data exchange and collaboration between existing networks and users. NYeC and 2-1-1 NY said the framework would create a statewide resource repository of local organizations and services to help exchange SDOH data and improve referrals. Read more here.
Strategies to Help Behavioral Health Providers Succeed in Value-Based Care Models

When it comes to value-based care, there is no one size fits all approach.

In general, the goal is to improve patient outcomes while reducing the cost of care. But there are a number of ways to do that, so agreements often look different from state to state and payer to payer.

However, there are some universal strategies behavioral health providers can deploy to set themselves up for success in value-based care models. Stakeholders say it comes down to data, partnerships and practice. Read more here.
Teenage Brains May Be Especially Vulnerable to Marijuana and Other Drugs

Adolescents and teenagers who experiment with marijuana and prescription drugs are more likely to get hooked on them than young people who try these drugs for the first time when they are college-aged or older, according to a new analysis of federal data.

The research suggests that young people may be particularly vulnerable to the intoxicating effects of certain drugs, and that early exposure might prime their brains to desire them. The findings have implications for public health policymakers, who in recent years have called for increased screening and preventive measures to reverse a sharp rise in 
marijuana vaping among teenagers. Read more here.
How To Talk — And Listen — To A Teen With Mental Health Struggles

"It just is really sad to see what was supposed to be the best years of your life, like, go down the tubes."

That's how E., a 16-year-old who lives in Alexandria, Va., described her state of mind right now. E. is among many teenagers who have struggled during the pandemic with the loss of routines and milestones. (We're not using her name to protect her privacy.) When school went remote last spring, she started staying up late into the night. Once a cross-country runner, she became less physically active. Her grades slipped from A's and B's to F's. She lost friendships and felt lonely. She compared living with her mother to being "in solitary confinement." Read more here.
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)