June 10, 2021
Inside a Mental Health Call: A Woman Lies In Street, Screaming About Dying. A Cop Responds. A Nightmare for Both

Solvay, NY - Frantic witnesses called 911 after seeing a woman lying in West Genesee Street one afternoon, screaming about wanting to die.

“She’s trying to kill herself!” several motorists yelled to police officers who arrived.

Gail Decker, 64, told the officers she just wanted to go home. But that wasn’t an option.

It’s one of those police interactions that has no winners: an emotionally distraught person and an officer with few options.

In the confrontation, Decker ended up bloodied in handcuffs, charged with resisting arrest. Those charges were later dismissed by a judge without a fight from prosecutors. Now, Decker is suing the police department, charging she’s the victim of police brutality. Read more here.
Senator Akshar Announces He's Running for Broome County Sheriff

Surrounded by friends and more than 75 local elected officials, New York State Senator Fred Akshar announced his candidacy for Broome County Sheriff.

The election isn't until next year, but Akshar says he already has the support of nearly every town supervisor and village mayor, as well as members of the Broome County Legislature.

Akshar has been representing the 52nd Senate District in Binghamton since 2015. Prior to his time in office, he worked 15 years in local law enforcement, including 13 years with the Broome County Sheriff's Department. He was undersheriff before running for the Senate. Read more here.
Advocates & Lawmakers Warn of ‘Impending Crisis’ Regarding Access to Mental Health Resources

Advocates, lawmakers and New Yorkers are warning of what they call an “impending crisis” that could reduce access to mental health and substance use disorder services across the state. The concern stems from a bill currently awaiting a full house vote in the New York State Senate.

The bill, sponsored by Senator Samra Brouk, Chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee and Assembly Member Harry Bronson, would prevent community-based agencies from having to comply with a law that governs who can provide services. That includes clinical treatment services to New Yorkers seeking assistance from the public mental hygiene system. Read more here.
Preventing Suicide Among a ‘Hidden Population’ in Public Housing

New research suggests that African American families living in public housing are a “hidden population” when it comes to national suicide prevention efforts. The study showed 11% of Black teens and young adults living in a mid-Atlantic public housing development reported that in the previous 12 months, they had made a plan to die by suicide.

The finding fits with what previous research has shown: that African American youths are the fastest-growing group engaging in suicidal behavior and dying by suicide, and have the highest suicide death rate increase among any other racial or ethnic minority group, from 2.55 per 100,000 in 2007 to 4.82 per 100,000 in 2017. Read more here.
Police Interventions for Emotionally Distressed Children on the Rise in New York City Public Schools, Analysis Finds

Police interventions for children facing mental health crises at New York City public schools have increased, with Black students and students with disabilities disproportionately affected, according to a new analysis of city data from 2016 to 2020.

In a report released Thursday, Advocates for Children of New York analyzed more than 12,000 “child in crisis” incidents — a New York Police Department label for instances in which a student in emotional distress is removed from class and then transported to a hospital for a psychological evaluation. The analysis, an update to the nonprofit’s 2017 brief, found an upward trend in such police interventions over the past four years. Read more here.
Fentanyl Test Strips Empower People And Save Lives—So Why Aren’t They More Widespread?

Fentanyl test strips (FTS) are a simple, inexpensive, and evidence-based method of averting drug overdose. FTS are small strips of paper that can detect the presence of fentanyl in any drug batch—pills, powder, or injectables. This tool might be lifesaving for the teenager experimenting for the first time, the individual in the throes of a severe opioid use disorder, the concert-goer looking for a trip, the person using a preferred substance obtained from a new source, or the individual years into recovery. FTS also support the dignity and well-being of people who use drugs (PWUD), enabling them to make educated decisions about their safety.

And yet after years of press and discussions of the strips’ utility, FTS aren’t as widely available as one would expect them to be. It is time to take a more critical look at the importance of destigmatizing this tool and increasing its distribution and availability, while highlighting the grave risks in not doing so. Read more here.
NEW! Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program (STAR LRP)

The Substance Use Disorder Treatment and Recovery Loan Repayment Program (STAR LRP) provides loan repayment for individuals working in either a full-time
substance use disorder (SUD) treatment job that involves direct patient care in a:

  • County/municipality where the average drug overdose death rate exceeds the most current national average or
  • Mental Health Professional Shortage Area (MHPSA)

Eligible providers can receive up to $250K in loan repayment. Accepting applications now until July 22, 7:30 PM ET.

Now Accepting Applications: Evidence-based Treatment in Custody, Jail-based Mentor Site Initiative

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is pleased to announce the creation of the Evidence-based Treatment in Custody, Jail-based Mentor Site Initiative. This COSSAP initiative offers jails across the country interested in providing or enhancing their medication-assisted treatment (MAT) services a unique opportunity to observe and learn from innovative programs that have demonstrated success in meeting the treatment needs of individuals with substance use disorders. Six programs were selected to serve as mentor sites. Each site represents an example of a variety of programs found in diverse settings across the nation.

BJA anticipates that each mentor site will host approximately one to three mentee sites per year.

The Mentor Site Initiative is part of the training and technical assistance (TTA) available to local jurisdictions through COSSAP. Advocates for Human Potential, Inc. (AHP), in its role as a COSSAP TTA provider, is coordinating the program. Read more here.
Study Targets Benefits of Asynchronous Telehealth for Mental Health Care

New research out of the University of California Davis finds that telehealth treatments for people with non-urgent mental health needs can be delivered via an asynchronous (store-and-forward) platform just as well as through an audio-visual platform.

A study published online last month in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) indicates patients using either asynchronous or synchronous telemedicine technology to meet with psychiatrists saw no significant difference in improvements – though both “had statistically and clinically significant improvements” in treatment outcomes over the five-year study. The research is important at a time when the healthcare industry is striving to address barriers to access, including social determinants of health. Read more here.

Keeping Your “High Performers” From Burnout

Burnout is a word we’ve heard often in the past 14 months. In one 2021 study across different industries, age groups, and experience levels, 52% of employee respondents said they were feeling burned out, up from 43% who reported the same pre-pandemic. More than two-thirds of employees felt that the pandemic had made the burnout issue worse. Among frontline health care workers, the problems are heightened—55% say they feel burned out while 62% say worry or stress related to COVID has negatively affected their mental health.

The World Health Organization defines burnout as an occupational phenomenon resulting from chronic and unmanaged workplace stress that results in exhaustion, feeling depleted of energy, feelings of negativity and distance from the job, and reduced professional efficacy. And it is likely that as the country goes through a “turbulent re-entry” into the next normal, the proportion of employees reporting feelings of burnout will not subside. Read more here.
Genesee County, Police Agencies Applying for iPad Funds to Assist in Mental Health Response

A call to police may not start out as a mental health call, but may end up that way.

“We handle a great deal of calls for service related to mental health, not all calls result in transports for mental health evaluations,” Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said. “In 2020, our department handled 280 calls for service specific to mental health, However, there are other calls we handle that do not start as a mental health call but wind up in a mental health arrest or voluntary transport.”

The Batavia and Le Roy police departments, along with the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office and Genesee County Mental Health and Community Services, are applying for an iPad program. Read more here.
Jvion Launches Behavioral Health Vulnerability Map to Support and Inform the Response to America's Mental Health Crisis

Jvion, a leader in clinical artificial intelligence (AI), this week launched its Behavioral Health Vulnerability Map to support the response to America's mental health crisis. To create the map, Jvion used its AI CORE™ to analyze public data on social determinants of health (SDOH) and determine the vulnerability of every US Census block group. Here, vulnerability refers to the likelihood that residents will experience adverse behavioral health events such as self-harm, suicide attempts or overdoses. The map also identifies the most influential social determinants in each region, enabling action to address the social and environmental conditions that contribute to mental illness. Read more here.
New Guide on Universal Screening for Health-Related Social Needs from the Accountable Health Communities Model

Participants in the Accountable Health Communities Model use the Accountable Health Communities Health-Related Social Needs Screening Tool to quickly identify health-related social needs, such as food insecurity, housing instability, and lack of access to transportation, among community-dwelling Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. The Screening Tool enables staff to take the next step of connecting beneficiaries with community resources that can address their unmet needs. A new user guide can help health care or social service providers in a wide range of clinical settings use the Screening Tool. The guide also provides key insights for implementing universal screening for health-related social needs based on the experiences of organizations participating in the Accountable Health Communities Model.
A Decade of Value-Based Payment: Lessons Learned And Implications For The Center For Medicare And Medicaid Innovation, Part 1

Over the past decade, adoption of value-based payment (VBP) models has increased substantially. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation’s has launched multiple new models since its authorization, commercial payers have structured almost one-third of their payments as alternative payment models (APMs), and state Medicaid programs have increasingly included payment reforms in their waivers and Medicaid managed care contracts.

Nevertheless, questions remain on how payment and care reforms can best reduce overall costs and improve quality, outcomes, and people’s experience of care. Overall evidence on cost and quality outcomes of the diverse reforms to date is mixed, with some payment models performing better than others. A recent assessment from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has also raised questions about the impact of many of the pilot reforms implemented by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) during its first decade. Read more here.


June 15, 12:30 - 2 pm, National Institute of Mental Health

June 16, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

June 16, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 16, 2 - 3:30 pm, NCJTC

June 16, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

June 17, 2 - 3 pm, Center for Victim Research

June 17, 2 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 22, 2 - 3:30 pm, Stepping Up Initiative

June 24, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

June 28, 3:30 - 5 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 29, 9 am - 12 pm, CCSI

June 29, 2 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 30, 10 - 11 am, OMH

June 30, 1 - 3 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

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

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

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


Children & Families Committee Meeting
June 15: 11:30 am - 1 pm

CLMHD Membership Call
June 16: 10 - 11:30 am

WEBINAR: Blueprint for Crisis Response Continuum: Orange County
June 16: 2 - 3:30 pm

CLMHD Offices Closed - Juneteenth
June 18

WEBINAR: Blueprint for Suicide Prevention Innovation: Westchester County 
June 22, 10 - 11:30 am

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
June 22, 1 - 3 pm


LGU Billing Staff Call
July 1: 2 - 3 pm

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
July 8: 11 am - 12 pm

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

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)