June 2, 2022
NYS OPWDD Announces Release of Five-Year Draft Strategic Plan

Seeks Additional Public Comment on Plan Developed in Collaboration with Stakeholders to Enhance System of Supports

The New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) has released the agency’s 2023-2027 Draft Strategic Plan for public review and comment.

“This draft Strategic Plan represents a new direction informed by our stakeholders throughout a significant feedback process,” said Kerri E. Neifeld, OPWDD Commissioner. “With the input and support of all of our stakeholders – people who receive services, their families, advocates, provider agencies and Care Coordination Organizations – it presents an agreed-upon course of action, a shared vision of our top priorities and the activities and projects we will undertake to achieve them.” Read more here.
Sabrina’s Parents Love Her. But the Meltdowns Are Too Much.

The other children were heading home after school. But not Sabrina Benedict. A progression of mishaps had sent her into a tailspin. Earlier in gym class, a much smaller boy had sprinted toward her, scaring her. Then a teaching assistant had deviated slightly from their usual goodbye routine.

Now mid-meltdown, she lay prone on the sidewalk outside her school, her legs dangling in the street. She was only 13 years old, but she was 6-foot-2 and 250 pounds, far larger than any of the teachers or school administrators who stood nearby, watching with concern. For a moment, the only sound was Sabrina’s loud moans. She threw a shoe at a teacher. She took off her shirt. She cursed at the school staff arranged around her in a protective circle. Read more here.
The Misunderstanding of the Crisis Intervention Team Program

In 2019, Ron Bruno, a retired Utah police officer and executive director at Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) International, told #CrisisTalk that “mental healthcare shouldn’t come in a police car.” More than two years later, he says the seemingly obvious statement remains controversial, especially in places that use law enforcement as their primary behavioral health crisis responder. That includes communities that have invested in embedded co-response, where police departments have dedicated personnel that partner with clinicians to respond to mental health and substance use crises. “They’re often married to that model and not open to other interventions,” he says.
Read more here.
Crisis Text Line Releases Third Annual Data Report on Mental Health in America

On Tuesday, Crisis Text Line, a not-for-profit organization that provides free, 24/7 text-based mental health support, released its third annual national data report, "United in Empathy: What 1.3 Million Conversations Say About The State of Mental Health In America" identifying the top issues for texters in 2021. Anyone can text HELLO to 741741 to be connected to a live, trained crisis counselor.

In 2021, over 20,000 people donated their time to connect with strangers as volunteer Crisis Counselors at Crisis Text Line. During the second year of the pandemic, these volunteer counselors had 1.3 million conversations with people in crisis. Over seventy percent of conversations were with texters under age 25, providing a unique snapshot of the mental health issues for young Americans. Read more here.
Governor Hochul Announces Introduction of Comprehensive Package of Legislation to Strengthen New York's Gun Laws

Governor Kathy Hochul, Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie on Tuesday announced that ten bills have been introduced in both the Assembly and Senate that would tighten New York's gun laws, close loopholes and directly address the gaps in our laws exposed by the horrific shootings in Buffalo, Texas, and around the country. Read more here.

New Task Force to Prevent Fentanyl Abuse is One Step Closer to Being Launched

The state of New York is one step closer to establishing the Fentanyl Abuse and Overdose Prevention Task Force following the passage of new legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Michael Cusick last week.

The statewide task force will consist of 16 members who will examine abuse and overdose trends; expand awareness about the dangers of fentanyl; promote access to and the availability of treatment for substance use disorders; and examine the expansion and distribution of naloxone. Read more here.
UAlbany Study: Incarceration at Young Age a Suicide Risk Factor

A history of incarceration may increase suicide attempts, particularly for women who were incarcerated at a young age, according to a new study from the University at Albany School of Public Health.

The study, led by doctoral student Maggie Smith and published in Community Mental Health Journal, is one of the first population-based studies to examine the relationship between a history of suicide attempt, age of incarceration and sex. Read more here.
Despite Tele-Behavioral Health Adoption, Mental Health ED Visits Surpass Pre-Pandemic Volumes

Despite the uptick in tele-behavioral health adoption during the pandemic, in 2021 emergency departments continued to see a rise in volume for mental health conditions.

“Based upon fundamental economic principles, telehealth is only a viable “substitute good” for behavioral health,” Sanjula Jain, Ph.D, Chief Research Officer & Market Strategy, wrote in a new report from Trilliant Health.

Virtual behavioral health visits skyrocketed during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Trilliant Health report “visit volumes in both April 2020 and April 2021 [were] more than 4,000% higher than in April 2019.” However, this didn’t translate into long term impacts on emergency department volumes. Read more here.
Locking People Up Is No Way to Treat Mental Illness

Mental illness has touched nearly every family in America in one way or another. Recent reports suggest that the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated this situation, particularly for young people and children, as well as for health-care workers. Despite the ubiquity of mental illness, our ability to help those who have behavioral disorders recoup lives interrupted by them is deeply inadequate.

One of us has encountered the broken system firsthand, through the experience of following a son who had a psychotic episode at age 24 through a 10-year struggle with his brain disease, which was intensified by anosognosia, hampering his insight into his illness. The other, a Miami-Dade County judge, has worked for more than two decades to transform the criminal-justice system and how it deals with those with serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia. Read more here.
How Lyft Healthcare Changed Lanes to Social Determinants of Health Work

It was 2016, and the leadership at burgeoning rideshare company Lyft was alerted to several tripped fraud wires. What looked like fraudulent ride requests coming out of Utah for trips in New York turned out to be a medical transportation broker tapping Lyft for Medicaid’s non-emergency medical transportation benefit.

“They had dozens of burner phones thrown across the desk ordering rides for Medicaid patients in New York leveraging the Lyft app as the access point,” Buck Poropatich, the head of Lyft Healthcare, said during Xtelligent Healthcare Media’s Social Determinants of Health Virtual Event. “They had self-discovered that there was a better mousetrap, a better way to service this market and orchestrate this need.” Read more here.

More than 4 in 10 U.S. Adults Who Needed Substance Use and Mental Health Care Did Not Get Treatment

A staggering 43% of U.S. adults who say they needed substance use or mental health care in the past 12 months did not receive that care, and numerous barriers to access stand between them and needed treatment, according to a new national survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of the National Council for Mental Wellbeing.

Barriers to access may complicate or delay treatment, according to the 2022 Access to Care Survey. Cost, availability, wait times, a lack of diversity and proximity to care all represent significant obstacles for all those seeking care for substance use and mental health challenges – those who were able to access care and those who weren’t. Read more here.

Preliminary Findings from Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits, 2021: Results from the Drug Abuse Warning Network

In the preliminary report of 2021, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) identified 141,529 (unweighted) drug-related emergency department (ED) visits from 52 participating hospitals. The top five drugs involved in drug-related ED estimates in 2021 were alcohol, followed by opioids, methamphetamine, marijuana, and cocaine. The sentinel hospitals showed that the monthly trend analysis revealed decreasing trends of alcohol, methamphetamine, marijuana, and heroin-related ED visits, and increasing trends of fentanyl and unspecified narcotic analgesics.

June 2, 3 - 4 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

June 3, 12 - 4 pm, Stanford University

June 3, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP

June 7, 10 - 11 am, OMH

June 7, 12 - 1:30 pm, OMH

June 8, 11:30 am - 1 pm, Academy of Peer Services

June 8, 3 - 4 pm, NACo

June 9, 2 - 3 pm, NIEHS

June 10, 11 am - 4 pm, NASEM

June 10, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP

June 13, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

June 13, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

June 14, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

June 14, 1:30 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

June 14, 2 - 3 pm, Camden Coalition

June 15, 2 -3 pm, OMH

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

June 21, 12 - 1 pm, United Hospital Fund

June 21, 3 - 4:30 pm, HRSA

June 22, 12 - 2 pm, CMS

June 24, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP


AOT Coordinators Meeting
June 3: 10 - 11:30 am

Addiction Services & Recovery Committee Meeting
June 9: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting
June 9: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Meeting
June 14: 10 - 11:30 am

CLMHD Membership Call
June 15: 9 - 10:30 am

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

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

LGU Clinic Operators Meeting
July 18: 10 - 11:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting
July 19: 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)