March 10, 2022
HHS Announces Nearly $35 Million To Strengthen Mental Health Support for Children and Young Adults

On Wednesday, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) – through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the Office of Minority Health (OMH) – announced nearly $35 million in funding opportunities to strengthen and expand community mental health services and suicide prevention programs for America’s children and young adults. The American Rescue Plan funded $9.2 million. This announcement is part of a new Administration-wide initiative to tackle the nation’s mental health crisis. Read more here.

New York State Surges to the Leading Edge in Addiction Treatment

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) will devote $3.2 million in funding for supportive housing and services for people with substance use disorder (SUD). It’s the latest forward-thinking action by the state to curb addiction.

OASAS announced last week that it would commit funding to the Transitional Safety Unit initiative, a two-year pilot program that will provide rental subsidies for short-term transitional housing for individuals with SUD who are leaving OASAS residential treatment or correctional facilities and can’t otherwise secure permanent housing. Read more here.
How To Invest Opioid Settlement And Federal Funding To Prevent Substance Use And Promote Youth Mental Health

Two national crises, the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, have accelerated recognition of the need for improvements in how we address the national emergency of youth mental health problems. Each has prompted new funding streams for substance use prevention and mental health promotion, both for direct and shorter-term improvements in existing interventions as well as for the more structural or systemic changes needed for a sustainable impact on the health and well-being of our nation’s youth. The two crises, moreover, have played out against the backdrop of deep-rooted structural racism in the U.S., shining a spotlight on profound inequities. Read more here.

This Is Why It's So Hard to Find Mental Health Counseling Right Now

Angelle Haney Gullett lost her father in September and knew she would need grief counseling. She contacted 25 therapists in the Los Angeles area, where she lives, between early October and Christmas, neatly tracking her efforts on a spreadsheet.

None would accept a new client. In most cases, their waiting lists were closed as well, even though Gullett was willing to pay hundreds of dollars in cash for each session. She spent February’s Super Bowl in tears, watching the Cincinnati Bengals, the team her father rooted for.

“I’m in a big city. I’m in L.A. We have a lot of therapists,” she said. “So it’s just kind of wild to me that that many people are at capacity.” Read more here.
More Than 30% of Behavioral Health Organizations Failing to Protect Confidential Health Information

Most of the time, behavioral health organizations appear to be adhering to quality standards when it comes to meeting operations and management benchmarks. But a significant number overall are still not hitting the target, according to a recently released report by a leading health care accrediting body.

The nonprofit Accreditation Commission for Health Care (ACHC), which provides accrediting standards for community-based organizations and education programs, disclosed its findings in a quality review publication called The Surveyor, which the organization puts out regularly. Read more here.
"It's Never Been Done Before": How NC Plans to Use Medicaid Dollars to Improve Social Determinants of Health

For years, staff at Hunger and Health in Watauga County have distributed food for free to families in need. “We’re the largest food pantry and the only free pharmacy in Watauga County,” said Ben Loomis, the grants and program manager at the organization. They also serve nearby Ashe and Avery counties, offering people in these rural communities phone consultations with a registered dietitian and support building out their nutrition profile and a healthy food plan.

Starting March 15, Hunger and Health — along with more than 90 other organizations throughout 33 western and eastern North Carolina counties — will begin scaling up their work and getting reimbursed for parts of it when the state officially rolls out the Healthy Opportunities Pilot: a first-in-the-nation project which hypothesizes that if we use health care dollars to pay for non-medical health-related services, medical costs will fall and people’s overall health will rise. Read more here.

Someone to Call During a Behavioral Health Emergency: Transitioning to 988 in Every County

Counties are integral to America’s behavioral health system and will be a vital force for building robust continuums of care for people with behavioral health conditions such as mental illness and/or substance use disorders. The over $100 billion in annual investments made by counties into community health systems directly supports behavioral health services such as those that enhance the crisis care continuum.

An important component of this continuum of care are crisis hotlines to assist residents who experience a behavioral health emergency. Read more here.
How New York Education Officials Are Addressing Mental Health in Schools

New York state education officials last Thursday released new guidance and resources to help schools develop policies for addressing and identifying students who are in a mental health crisis and help local school officials intervene effectively.

The guidance proposed by the state Education Department comes after nearly two years of the COVID-19 pandemic disrupting education and the school-day schedule for many students and teachers. Mental health experts have called pandemic-related stress for kids and adolescents a mental health emergency in the country. Read more here.
Behavioral Health Drove the Largest Share of Telehealth Visits in 2021

Behavioral is the only segment of the health care sector where telehealth is a substitute for in-person care and it drove the majority of telehealth visits during 2021.

Those are two of the key takeaways from a new report on the place of telehealth with health care from Trilliant Health, a Brentwood, Tennessee-based predictive analytics company focused on health care. Read more here.

Establishing Peer Support Services for Overdose Response: A Toolkit for Health Departments

Peer support services (PSS) are a valuable component of a growing number of overdose response and linkage to care initiatives that can be implemented and supported by local and state health departments. This toolkit is for local and state health departments and community partners who are exploring opportunities to implement or enhance PSS within overdose response and linkage to care initiatives. This toolkit provides information, resources, tools, actionable steps and real-world examples informed by the latest research, subject matter experts and experiences from diverse settings across the country.
Making Housing Part Of Health Care

From coast to coast, addressing homelessness is a top priority. Just last week, California Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a new plan for addressing mental health and homelessness issues, known as the Community Assistance, Recovery and Empowerment (or CARE) Court, which proposes mental health courts, more aggressive treatment, and more for individuals experiencing homelessness. And, last month, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced a plan focused on homeless individuals, barring people from sleeping on trains and/or riding the same lines all night.

The actions of these political leaders are driven by many of the byproducts of homelessness—crime, business interruption, fear of property value decline, and more. But, homelessness and housing insecurity also have an outsized effect on use of health care resources. Read more here.

Suicide by Gun Is Rising Among Youth, Especially Teens of Color

Marc Mendiola was tired of seeing his high school classmates in crisis, especially knowing that so many of them lived in households with guns.

During his freshman year, he noticed that some of his friends experienced depression and suicidal ideation so intense that some days, they didn’t seem like themselves at all.

The light behind their eyes was gone. Sometimes, they went to the counselor at their South San Antonio, Texas, high school to share how they were feeling, and the counselor would send them away with a list of therapists they could contact outside the school. But few of those therapists took Medicaid. Or spoke Spanish. Or stayed open past 5 o’clock.

“We don’t have the resources to get help,” Mendiola said. “All we have easy access to is guns, to take the easy way out.” Read more here.
Wage Boost Sought for Caregivers of New York's Most Vulnerable

Supporters of caregivers for people with developmental disabilities are calling for a long-term wage increase for those workers as a final state budget could include a cost-of-living adjustment and one-time bonuses for a field that has struggled to retain people.

At issue for advocates of people with developmental disabilities is the ongoing effort to secure a wage increase. Gov. Kathy Hochul's proposed $216 billion spending plan includes a cost-of-living increase of 5.4% and a one-time bonus payment of $3,000.

But advocates are calling those proposals a first step in what should be a multi-year plan to increase pay for direct service providers, known as DSPs. Read more here.

OMH Announces Availability of $105,000 in Funding for Stigma Reduction Projects

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) today announced the availability of up to $105,000 in grant funding for projects that help reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness.

Funding is provided through the voluntary tax check-off program launched in 2016, which allows taxpayers to contribute easily to the ‘Mental Illness Anti-Stigma Fund’ when filing their NYS taxes. Read more here.
How New York's Budget Could Affect Health Care for Years

As state lawmakers and Gov. Kathy Hochul negotiate a new budget, health care executives say officials need to start thinking now of what the future of medical visits will look like. And after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, health care has changed in New York — and those changes for patients and providers alike could be permanent.

It's a future that will likely mean even more emphasis on telemedicine, allowing patients to meet virtually with their doctor or health care provider. And Grause wants legislators to focus on how the budget should be shaped around that. Read more here.

March 10, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 10, 3 - 4:30 pm, Policy Research Associates

March 11, 12 - 1:30 pm, Northeast and Caribbean MHTTC

March 14, 4 - 5 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 15, 2 - 3 pm, NYAPRS

March 16, 10 - 11 am, OMH

March 16, 12 - 1 pm, Systems for Action

March 16, 2 - 3 pm, NACo

March 16, 2 - 3 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

March 17, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 17, 3 - 4:30 pm, Policy Research Associates

March 22, 12 - 1:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

March 22, 2 - 3 pm, NAASP

March 22, 2 - 3:30 pm, OMH

March 22, 1 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 23, 1 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 24, 3 - 4:30 pm, Policy Research Associates

March 29, 4 - 5 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

March 30, 11 am - 12 pm, OMH

March 30, 2 - 3 pm, NACo

March 31, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing


Mental Health Committee Meeting
March 10: 3 - 4 pm

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

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

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting
March 17: 1 - 2:30 pm


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
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)