May 19, 2022
Governor Hochul Updates New Yorkers on Efforts to Address the Opioid Epidemic

Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday updated New Yorkers regarding ongoing efforts to address the opioid epidemic. In response to the newly released information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicating that more than 107,000 Americans died of overdoses last year, the Governor is reinforcing ongoing investments and her continued commitment to addressing this critical issue.

One of the Governor’s first actions upon taking office was appointing a new Commissioner of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS). Since her appointment, Dr. Chinazo Cunningham, a physician and expert in treating substance use disorder, has been working to expand and enhance the State’s addiction services system. Read more here.
New York Lawmakers Consider Transportation for People with Addiction

As overdose deaths rise across the country and in New York to historic levels, state lawmakers in Albany are considering ways of easing the path to addiction recovery. The Democratic-led Assembly on Monday approved a bill meant to create new transportation services for people who are facing addiction and in need of treatment. The measure, if given final approval, would provide in-patient, residential and outpatient services for people to travel to treatment. The proposal would include at least one rural and one urban "demonstration" program run by the state. Read more here.
Nowhere to Go: As Psychiatric Beds Disappear, Troubled Teens Fill ERs

In March, 13-year-old C. was living semi-permanently in the emergency room at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.

The Niskayuna teen was not suicidal or homicidal enough to be admitted to the hospital's pediatric psychiatric ward, but her destructive behavior had become too much for her parents to handle, according to her mother, whose first initial is J.

"She was not making safe decisions for herself and she wasn't making safe decisions for others around her," J. said.

So C. waited.. and waited... and waited for a bed to become available at a residential treatment facility anywhere in the state. After 40 days, she was released to her parents. Read more here.

4 High School Students Talk Mental Health and How the Pandemic Changed Them

At this point in the pandemic, American teens have spent a significant chunk of their formative years isolated from friends and in fractured learning environments. More than 2 in 5 teens have reported persistently feeling sad or hopeless, according to a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey of high school students. Many who were already struggling with trauma or mental health problems before the pandemic were deeply affected by the prolonged isolation.

But young people have also shown grace and resilience as they dealt with the challenges of COVID-19. NPR spoke to four high school students who marked the pandemic's two year anniversary with a newfound sense of self, and big dreams for the future. Read more here.

Crisis Lines and Helplines are Not the Same, But Experts Say We Need Both

The past few years have seen a growing mental health crisis, prompting an increasing number of Americans to seek help through confidential telephone support lines.

But no two support lines are exactly the same. Crisis lines are intended for those undergoing an urgent mental health crisis and in imminent danger, like someone considering suicide. Helplines are designed for non-urgent needs, such as those seeking support and resources for depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. Read more here.
Here’s What Limits the Potential of Telehealth in Behavioral Health Post-COVID

The wide and swift adoption of telehealth in the behavioral health space quickly ran into potential issues. Still, many of those issues loom large over the segment after two years of COVID-prompted growth, potentially limiting its impact in the future, according to Dr. Kari Law, telepsychiatry program director and clinical operations vice chair for the West Virginia University Department of Behavioral Medicine and Psychiatry. This requires strong advocacy for solutions from the federal government, Law and others said on a webinar panel hosted by the U.S. Health and Human Services Department. Read more here.
Youth Mobile Response: A Tool for Decriminalizing Mental Health

As the United States heads deeper into its third year of the Covid pandemic, Whitney Bunts says the past 25 months have been especially tough on young people. They’ve navigated quarantine, isolation, loneliness, and a series of alleged returns to normalcy that weren’t. Young people have also had to maneuver family issues and stress. There has been an increased proportion of emergency department use for behavioral health stress among children 5-11 and 12-17, which, during the pandemic, increased by 24% and 34%, respectively. Bunts is a youth policy analyst at CLASP, a nonprofit that advances policy solutions to improve the lives of people with low incomes. She says that youth mobile response can help divert young people experiencing mental health challenges from the school-to-prison pipeline. Read more here.
Collaboration is Key

The focus on addressing the social support needs of consumers continues to grow among health plan and provider organization executive teams. For health plans, addressing social determinants of health (SDOH) has been demonstrated to improved outcomes and reduce costs. And, for many traditional provider organization executive teams, addressing social support needs is a ‘differentiator’ amid the growing competition posed by digital-first provider organizations and retail health care offerings.

Just in the past few months, new research documents the social determinants’ links to conditions as disparate as obesity, asthma, and HIV. Social risks and behavioral health prevalence has also been connected.

The good news is that there are pilot programs addressing these conditions that have proven to work. And health plans have taken note. Read more here.
NYS OASAS Announces Award Of $800,000 To Expand Opioid Addiction Treatment Services In New York State

The New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports (OASAS) on Wednesday announced the award of $800,000 to four Opioid Treatment Program (OTP) providers to establish new locations outside of their existing facilities. These programs will help to bring OTP services to currently underserved locations and continue to address the ongoing need for treatment throughout New York State. Read more here.
Merger of Mental Health, Addiction Services Offices Sought

New York lawmakers are pushing for the merger of the Office of Addiction Services and Supports and the Office of Mental Health with the goal of better serving people who are facing both addiction and mental health crises.

The state Senate on Tuesday approved a bill that would merge both offices in state government, creating the new Office of Addiction and Mental Health Services. Read more here.
Minority Fellowship Program Aims to Reduce Health Disparities by Increasing Culturally Competent Providers

For many people with substance use disorders, access to care in the United States is inadequate, but for Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC), the situation is worse. SAMHSA’s Minority Fellowship Program (MFP) seeks to encourage racial and ethnic minorities to enter the behavioral health field and to increase the number of culturally competent health care professionals as a way to enhance healthcare. Being culturally competent and aware is to be respectful and inclusive of the health beliefs and attitudes, healing practices, and cultural and linguistic needs of different population groups. Behavioral health practitioners can bring about positive change by better understanding the differing cultural context among various communities and being willing and able to work within that context. Read more here.


May 20, 1 - 2:15 pm, Center for Health Care Strategies

May 23, 2 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

May 24, 9:30 - 10:30 am, FCC

May 24, 1 - 2:30 pm, OMH

May 24, 2 - 3:15 pm, CSG Justice Center

May 25, 11 am - 12 pm, MHTTC

May 25, 1 - 2 pm, Camden Coalition for Complex Care

May 25, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

May 25, 5:30 - 7 pm, NYAPRS

May 26, 10 - 11:30 am, OMH

May 26, 1 - 2:30 pm, MHTTC

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 9, 2 - 3 pm, NIEHS

June 10, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP

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

June 15, 2 -3 pm, OMH

June 24, 2 - 3 pm, CCHP


CLMHD Office Closed - Memorial Day
May 30


Executive Committee Call
June 1: 8 - 9 am

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 Directors 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
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)