June 16, 2022
Attorney General James to Hold Public Hearing on New York’s Mental Health Crisis

As New York state is dealing with a crisis in mental health care, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office will host an in-person public hearing to examine the accessibility of mental health care for New Yorkers with serious mental illness across the state. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22nd, at 2 PM, and members of the public, advocacy groups, healthcare providers, and government agencies are encouraged to testify. Read more here.
Mental Health Check-Up: How Counties are Meeting Residents’ Mental Health Needs in 2022

This episode of NYSAC's County Conversations podcast features a conversation on mental health and the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Joining Ryan Gregoire, NYSAC Legislative Director, is Kathy Coons, Commissioner of Mental Health in Rensselaer County and previous Chair of the NYS Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors. Click here to listen to the episode.
Governor Hochul Announces Award of More Than $5 Million to Expand Access to Addiction Services in New York State

Governor Kathy Hochul on June 10 announced the award of more than $5 million for two initiatives to expand addiction services in New York State and help people in need better access treatment and other support. More than $4 million will be awarded to providers in regional networks to provide transportation assistance and to coordinate care for people seeking addiction services, and more than $1 million will be awarded to help support the expansion of telehealth services in every region of New York State.

Funding for both initiatives was provided to New York State through the Federal Substance Abuse Prevention & Treatment Block Grant Supplemental award and administered by NYS OASAS. Read more here.
New CDC Data Detail Overlap of Substance Misuse, Psychiatric Disorders

Reports of increased substance use and rising rates of mental health disorders throughout the past few years are nothing new, especially as Americans struggled with the economic and humanistic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. But data released today by the CDC document to what extent these two conditions overlap.

According to the center’s latest Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, in 2019 at least one third of adults assessed for substance use at treatment centers reported severe psychiatric problems. Although the current data were collected prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, authors noted future research will focus on the crisis’ impact on trends. Read more here.
New York Wants to Train More Mental Health Professionals to Meet a Growing Demand for Services

The demand for mental health services has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, but New York State law limits diagnosis and treatment to physicians, psychologists and licensed clinical social workers. A temporary pandemic measure expanded that list to include licensed mental health counselors, marriage and family therapists, and psychoanalysts under supervision, but it will expire on June 24. State and county leaders are now pushing for passage of a new bill that will give these exempted professions the ability to diagnose and treat patients permanently. Proponents say it will increase access to high quality care. Read more here.
More States Are Allowing Students to Take Mental Health Days Off

Linnea Sorensen falls into a funk whenever her girlfriend of four years leaves for her six-month stints with the Marines, and the high school junior has trouble concentrating on her classwork.

"I'm somebody who struggles with my mental health quite a bit," said the 17-year-old, who attends school in Schaumburg, Ill., a suburb of about 77,000 people northwest of Chicago. "When you're in school and not fully mentally there, it's like you're not really grasping anything anyway."

Now Illinois is giving Sorensen and students like her a new option for dealing with mental health lows. Read more here.
Exploring the Need for Mental Health Services in NY's Black Communities

People all across the United States are facing many concerns including inflation, climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. But the recent mass shooting at a Tops grocery store in Buffalo is shining a light on the threat people of color face every day. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the experience of being Black in the United States varies, but there are several shared cultural experiences like racism, discrimination and inequity. Read more here.
Answering the Call, Part 2: Struggling to Staff the Nation's New Crisis Line

Jennifer Battle is open to just about anything to find people to answer the phones at her Houston-area crisis line.

“It’s like we need to have some kind of dating app except for crisis work. Like swipe here if you want to work in the middle of the night and talk to people in need,” joked Battle, Director of Access at the Harris Center, Texas’ largest public mental health agency.

Battle has been trying for the last 18 months to hire 25 counselors to answer 988, the country’s new mental health crisis line. Her center is one of more than 200 agencies that currently answer the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and will begin answering 988 on July 16. Read more here.

Additional article of interest: The Ramp Up To 988
Rural Communities Deal with Increase in Dangerous Alcohol Usage

In an effort to combat growing rates of dangerous alcohol use, a program in Alabama is using personal interactions to help drinkers see the problems their drinking may cause.

In rural Alabama, that means providing one-on-one interventions to illustrate the dangers involved in heavy alcohol use, and following up with patients to assess their progress, Audra Morrison with the School of Social Work at the University of Alabama said.

Across the country, dangerous alcohol use has increased since the beginning of the pandemic. Rural communities are seeing similar, if not greater dangerous alcohol use. Read more here.

If Housing Is a Health Care Issue, Should Medicaid Pay the Rent?

Living on the streets, Hanif Hightower learned which Philadelphia shelters were likely to have an open bed during the cold months or where he could get a meal or a hot shower. But his resourcefulness had limits. Addicted to crack cocaine and struggling with clinical depression, he cycled in and out of jail and temporary rehab programs, returning to the streets each time he was released. Years passed this way. Then one day, in May 2019, an outreach worker for a local nonprofit offered him a way out: an apartment of his own, no strings attached. Read more here.

Long Wait for Justice: People in Jail Face Delays for Mental Health Care Before They Can Stand Trial

Beau Hampton’s long wait for psychiatric treatment began last year, after he was accused of attacking his foster father and charged with a misdemeanor. The 18-year-old Hampton, who has a long history of mental illness, sat in jail east of Atlanta for four months waiting for an expert to evaluate whether he was mentally fit to stand trial. In February, a state psychologist found Hampton incompetent.

Then Hampton had to wait to get a placement in a state psychiatric hospital so he could receive treatment to meet the legal threshold for competency. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Announces $10 Million Partnership with Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence

Governor Kathy Hochul on June 10 announced that the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities has entered a three-year, $10 million partnership with Georgetown University's National Center for Cultural Competence to advance the policies and practices of diversity, equity, inclusion and cultural and linguistic competence into all components of the OPWDD system of supports and services for people with developmental disabilities. Read more here.
HHS Issues Guidance on HIPAA and Audio-Only Telehealth

On June 13, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through its Office for Civil Rights (OCR), is issuing guidance on how covered health care providers and health plans can use remote communication technologies to provide audio-only telehealth services when such communications are conducted in a manner that is consistent with the applicable requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Privacy, Security, and Breach Notification Rules, including when OCR’s Notification of Enforcement Discretion for Telehealth - PDF is no longer in effect. Read more here.

June 16, 12:30 - 2 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

June 16, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

June 16, 3 - 4, MindSite News

June 20, 9:30 am - 1 pm, Public Policy Exchange

June 21, 12 - 1 pm, United Hospital Fund

June 21, 12 - 1:30 pm, CCSI

June 21, 3 - 4:30 pm, HRSA

June 22, 12 - 2 pm, CMS

June 23, 1 - 2:30 pm, CMS

June 23, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

June 23, 3 - 4 pm, Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts

June 24, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP

June 27, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

June 27, 3 - 4:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

June 29, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

June 30, 1:30 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

July 7, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing


Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting
June 16: 1 - 3 pm

CLMHD Office Closed - Juneteenth
June 20

Children & Families Committee Meeting
June 21: 11:30 am - 1 pm


CLMHD Office Closed - Independence Day
July 4

CLMHD Membership Call
July 6: 9 - 10:30 am

Quarterly LGU Billing Staff Call
July 7: 2 - 3 pm

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

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

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

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
July 14: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
July 14: 3 - 4 pm

Children & Families Committee Meeting
July 19: 11:30 am - 1 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Meeting
July 26: 10 - 11:30 am
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)