April 7, 2022
New York Saw Record Overdose Deaths in 2020, Health Officials Say

A record number of people died of drug-involved overdose deaths in 2020 in New York, part of a nationwide trend amid the onset of the COVID pandemic, according to a report released Monday by the state Department of Health.

Many of deaths are attributed to opioids and in particular fentanyl, which health officials believe is increasingly prevalent on the illicit drug market. More broadly, the sharp rise in opioid deaths across the country and in New York reflect the growing concerns over so-called "deaths of despair" as the pandemic severed long-standing social connections. Read more here.

To Understand Our Nation’s Mental Health Crisis, Look No Further than the Emergency Department

Across the country, individuals with severe psychiatric symptoms are brought to emergency departments (EDs) by family, friends, health professionals and law enforcement officers. Sometimes — such as after a drug or medication overdose — these individuals require a thorough medical evaluation and in these cases an ED is the right location. But often, people are brought to the ED because they were unable to access adequate care leading up to their crisis — and because there was nowhere else to turn once it began. Read more here.
‘A Cry for Help’: CDC Warns Of a Steep Decline in Teen Mental Health

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning of an accelerating mental health crisis among adolescents, with more than 4 in 10 teens reporting that they feel “persistently sad or hopeless,” and 1 in 5 saying they have contemplated suicide, according to the results of a survey published Thursday.

The findings draw on a survey of a nationally representative sample of 7,700 teens conducted in the first six months of 2021, when they were in the midst of their first full pandemic school year. They were questioned on a range of topics, including their mental health, alcohol and drug use, and whether they had encountered violence at home or at school. They were also asked about whether they had encountered racism. Read more here.

New York State Failed to Provide Legally Required Mental Health Care to Kids, Lawsuit Claims

New York state has failed to provide children on Medicaid with the mental health care they are entitled to by law, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court last Thursday by two adolescents acting on behalf of hundreds of thousands of Medicaid-eligible kids.

As a result, the lawsuit alleges, young people with serious mental health conditions suffer unnecessarily, ending up in hospitals and residential treatment programs because they don’t have access to services that would keep them safe at home. Read more here.
Nonprofit Human Services Workers May Finally Get a Raise Through the State Budget

During Gov. Kathy Hochul’s State of the State address at the beginning of the year, she made an announcement that the state’s nonprofit human services had been looking forward to for over a decade. The governor proposed $500 million in the fiscal year 2023 budget for cost-of-living adjustments, also known as COLAs, for human services workers’ salaries. If included in the final budget agreement, the state’s nonprofit human services workers would finally get a raise after then-Gov. Andrew Cuomo took out the COLAs, which had been a legislative requirement, from the budget during his tenure. Read more here.
NYS Office of Mental Health Announces Funding to Strengthen Suicide Prevention Efforts for Veterans and Uniformed Personnel

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today announced funding for a new initiative to strengthen resiliency and suicide prevention efforts among military Veterans and uniformed personnel, including law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical service members, and corrections officers.

The program is called CARES UP (Changing the Conversation, Awareness, Resilience, Empower Peers, Skills Building/ Suicide Prevention for Uniformed Personnel) and was developed by the New York State Office of Mental Health’s Suicide Prevention Center (OMH SPCNY). Read more here.
The Next Big Addiction Treatment

Several psychedelic drugs are touted as effective treatments for drug and alcohol abuse. But psilocybin combined with therapy is emerging as the most effective.

In recent years there has been a spate of research suggesting psychedelic drugs can help people manage mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, chronic pain or even eating disorders. But a growing body of data points to one as the leading contender to treat the intractable disease of substance abuse. Psilocybin, the active ingredient in psychedelic mushrooms, has shown promise in limited early studies, not only in alcohol and harder drugs, but also nicotine — all of which resist long term treatment. Read more here.
As Research Grows on Primary Care and Serious Mental Health, a Glaring Gap Remains

Laura Brown knows that she has high cholesterol, and that as someone who lives with bipolar 1 disorder, she faces even higher risk of cardiovascular problems. It’s constantly on her mind. But going to a doctor’s office for routine care is almost entirely out of the question. She’s a 35-year-old single mother whose two children have their own mental health complications, and experiences intense anxiety about leaving her home.

Brown, who is covered by the state Medicaid program in Tennessee, has been unable to find care that can fully address her needs. So like many people with serious mental illness — a shifting category that generally includes schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other conditions that cause functional impairment — she often forgoes primary care altogether. Read more here.
Telehealth for Mental Health Care ‘Likely Here to Stay,’ Expert Says

The rise in mental health care delivered online and over the phone due to coronavirus pandemic are likely permanent changes, according to a new study.

“Our study suggests that telehealth services for mental health counseling expanded significantly and is likely to stay,” said lead author Jane Zhu, an assistant professor of medicine at the Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine. “Future applications of tele-mental health should really be focused on understanding the population, context and disease conditions most conducive to this method,” Zhu added. Read more here.

New Bipartisan Bill Would Increase Access to Substance Use Treatment for People in the Criminal Justice System

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators introduced a new bill last week to expand services and treatment for people with substance use disorders during incarceration and when they return to the community. Led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and John Cornyn (R-TX), the Residential Substance Use Disorder Treatment Act of 2021 reauthorizes and makes several improvements to the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment (RSAT) for State Prisoners Formula Grant Program.

RSAT—originally created by the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 — supports states and local and tribal governments to provide residential substance use treatment programs for people in prisons and jails. Read more here.
New Rule Paves the Way for Out-of-State Psychologists to Practice in NY 

The state has adopted a new rule that will broaden the field of providers who can practice psychology in New York. The rule, which was formally adopted last week, will allow for licensure by endorsement, meaning that New York will grant licenses to certain psychologists who are already licensed in other states. State psychology associations and individual providers praised the move as providing a pathway to increase the number of practitioners in the state at a time of high demand for mental health services. Read more here.
A New Mental Health Hotline Is Coming.We Need to Do Right by It.

As the mental health ramifications from the COVID-19 pandemic have evolved, so have tools to support those in need. In July, for example, the federal government will launch 988, a simple three-digit help hotline for those who need to call or text to get mental health support quickly. For 988 to succeed, it will need more than adequate call center staffing to handle an expected surge in calls above Lifeline’s current 2 million a year. It needs to ensure access to, equity in, and quality of care. And policymakers must increase the number of counselors and therapists as the stigma surrounding mental health issues wanes, reducing constraints on seeking help. Read more here.

Governor Hochul Announces Award of $1.6 Million to Establish Mobile Medication Units for Addiction Treatment

Governor Kathy Hochul last Thursday announced the award of $1.6 million to eight addiction services providers in New York State, which will allow them to establish Mobile Medication Units. These Units will dispense medication to treat substance use disorder, including methadone and buprenorphine, allowing people to receive these medications without the need to travel to a brick-and-mortar facility. These will be the first MMUs in New York State and were made possible by a Federal Drug Enforcement Administration rule change allowing them to be operated by existing Opioid Treatment Program Providers. Read more here.

April 7, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

April 7, 1 - 2 pm, NASHP

April 7, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

April 7, 2 - 3:30 pm, CMS

April 12. 10 - 11 am, OMH

April 12, 3 - 4:15 pm, CSG Justice Center

April 13, 2 - 3:30 pm, CMS

April 14, 2:30 - 4 pm, Transitions ACR

April 20, 12 - 1:15 pm, CSG Justice Center

April 20, 1 - 2 pm, OMH

April 20, 3 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

April 20, 3 - 5 pm, NAADAC

April 21, 1 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

April 21, 2:30 - 3:30 pm, CHCS

April 26, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

April 26, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

April 26, 3 - 4 pm, NASHP

April 26, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

April 26, 3 - 4:15 pm, CSG Justice Center

April 27, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

April 27, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

April 27, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

April 27, 3 - 4:15 pm, CSG Justice Center

April 28, 11 am - 4 pm, NIH

April 28, 3 - 4 pm, OMH

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

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

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


Quarterly LGU Clinic Billing Staff Call
April 7: 2 - 3 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call
April 12: 10 - 11:30 am

Addiction Services and Recovery Committee Meeting
April 14: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
April 14: 3 - 4 pm

CLMHD Spring Full Membership Meeting
April 21-22, Embassy Suites, Saratoga Springs


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)