June 6, 2024

New York State Suicide Prevention Task Force Conducts Inaugural Meeting

The New York State Office of Mental Health last week announced the Suicide Prevention Task Force has reconvened with 32 members participating in its inaugural meeting this month. Overseen by the agency, the reconvened Task Force is aimed at building upon the recommendation made by its predecessor to strengthen public health approaches, enhance health system competencies, improve data surveillance methods, and infuse cultural competency in the state’s suicide prevention strategy. “Suicide claimed the lives of 1,765 New Yorkers in 2022,” Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said. “ And among high school-aged youth, growing numbers of girls, Black teens, and LGBTQ+ students report that they feel persistently sad or have suicidal thoughts. The reconvened Task Force will address these troubling trends and strategize on thoughtful, culturally competent solutions to improve mental wellbeing for all New Yorkers.” Read more here.

Related: Leading Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Organizations Celebrate Major Milestone for the 988 Lifeline and Crisis Response

Breaking the Silence: Youth Mental Health Crisis

"I feel like I found a purpose for all of my struggle and everything and that's to hopefully help people and make some change," MacKenzie Wood said. Wood is one of ten young adults part of the National Alliance on Mental Illness's Next Gen Youth Advisory Group. Those ten individuals were selected to serve a one year term and create a podcast on various mental health topics. "I started volunteering at a peer-to-peer crisis hotline when I was 15 so I was taking suicide calls at 15 years old from kids around the nation," Daniella Ivanir said. Daniella, MacKenzie, Alyssa and Shannon, four of those members, have all experienced their own mental health struggles. Their diagnoses ranging from OCD to anxiety, to anorexia nervosa and borderline personality disorder. Read more here.

Related: Biden Administration Launches Initiative To Support Youth Mental Health

Hochul Considers Smartphone Ban for New York Schools, Citing Student Mental Health Concerns

Gov. Kathy Hochul is mulling how to get smartphones out of New York schools as city and state officials grapple with the potential harmful effects of social media and other online platforms on youth mental health. This week, Hochul said smartphones should not be available to students during the school day, adding that she is exploring ways to make that happen next year. The governor and other city and state officials say social media platforms are designed to be addictive, 

harm young people’s mental health, and create avenues for bullying. “They’re living in this dark place where there’s this FOMO — fear of missing out — that if they put down their device for one second, that someone might be saying something about them, or they’ve got to respond to something,” Hochul told reporters on Tuesday. “This is how addictive it is. We have to liberate them from this. We have to just draw a line now and say, ‘No. Enough is enough.’” Read more here.

Related: Social media putting off young people from pursuing careers in nursing: Report

OASAS Advisory: Another Potent Sedative, Medetomidine, Now Appearing in Illegal Drug Supply

This advisory is intended to make the public aware of a new threat entering the illegal drug supply in various parts of the United States, as reported by the Center for Forensic Science Research and Education (CFSRE). The drug, medetomidine, has been used in veterinary medicine for many years as a sedative, analgesic, anxiolytic, and muscle relaxant and is a synthetic, alpha-2-agonist that is in the same class of medications as xylazine and clonidine. In April and May 2024, “mass overdose outbreaks” in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Chicago were associated with fentanyl or heroin containing medetomidine—as well as xylazine and/or other substances.  The serious adverse events associated with these overdoses included prolonged sedation, slowed breathing and slowed heart rate that is not reversed by the opioid antagonist, naloxone. Read more here.

New York City Releases Its First Ever State of Mental Health Report

The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene last week released a landmark report on the State of Mental Health of New Yorkers. This is the first report of its kind ever released by the City of New York. The report presents data from across age groups, spanning children and youth to adults, including formal diagnoses, measures of well-being, and environmental factors that may affect these outcomes, such as access to resources and use of mental health services. “Clear understanding of New Yorkers’ mental health and the factors that shape their wellbeing improves our ability to best meet the needs of the 8.5 million people we serve,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. Read more here.

Biden-Harris Administration Expands Access to Mental Health and Substance Use Services with Addition of 10 New States to CCBHC Medicaid Demonstration Program

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in partnership with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), today welcomed 10 new states into the Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) Medicaid Demonstration Program, after they successfully developed the necessary state-level infrastructure and worked with providers in their states to develop programs that meet CCBHC standards: Alabama, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Rhode Island and Vermont. Read more here.

Related: Now Available: 2024 CCBHC Impact Report

Network for Public Health Law - Six Policies That Advance Mental Health

Could Better Data Collection Bring Down Opioid Overdose Deaths?

Drug overdoses are the leading cause of death for Americans under 50. Death rates began to spike a decade ago, as the supply of illicitly manufactured fentanyl grew. Fentanyl exposures have since taken on new dimensions. EMTs and emergency room physicians scramble to stay ahead of health emergencies caused when fentanyl is combined with other drugs to augment its effects. Now, unexpected new compounds are entering the mix. In 2022, more than 260 people in Florida died from accidental overdoses which involved xylazine, a horse tranquilizer. All but two of those cases also involved fentanyl. (Combining the two drugs can extend a high.) Now, just as the treatment community is beginning to get a handle on xylazine and develop ways to deal with it, other additives are making headlines. Read more here.

Emerging Practices to Elevate and Replicate Community Responder Programs Nationwide

With growing calls for changes in how jurisdictions approach public safety, community responder programs are becoming more prevalent throughout the country, and even across the globe, as alternative first responses to situations that do not require an armed officer. Yet minimal research exists on definitive best practices for communities to follow when implementing and sustaining these programs. Based on a first-of-its-kind national commission focused on community response, this report details some of the emerging practices that program leaders can use to elevate and replicate community responder programs nationwide.

SAMHSA Issue Brief: Expanding Peer Support and Supporting the Peer Workforce in Mental Health

This issue brief offers valuable information to State Mental Health Authorities (SMHA) about the benefits of peer support and inclusion of the peer workforce throughout the behavioral health continuum. The document highlights current standards and best practices for including peer support workers as an essential component of services delivery for mental and co-occurring disorders, like substance use disorder (SUD).

Centering Lived Expertise: How to Meaningfully Elevate the Voices of People Directly Impacted by the Criminal Justice and Behavioral Health Systems

Integrating the voices of people with lived experience in processes that evaluate policy, programming, and practice is essential to championing equity in general and racial equity in particular. This brief summarizes guidance developed by a panel of people with direct experience in both the criminal justice and behavioral health systems about how to meaningfully engage and partner with people with lived experience to advance policies and practices at this intersection. The accompanying checklist narrows in on advisory panels as one method of engagement and provides key steps and considerations for organizations to successfully establish a lived experience advisory panel.

F.D.A. Panel Rejects MDMA-Aided Therapy for PTSD

An independent advisory panel of the Food and Drug Administration rejected the use of MDMA-assisted therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder on Tuesday, highlighting the unparalleled regulatory challenges of a novel therapy using the drug commonly known as Ecstasy. Before the vote, members of the panel raised concerns about the designs of the two studies submitted by the drug’s sponsor, Lykos Therapeutics. Many questions focused on the fact that study participants were by and large able to correctly guess whether they had been given MDMA, also known by the names of Ecstasy or molly. The panel voted 9-2 on whether the MDMA-assisted therapy was effective, and voted 10-1 on whether the proposed treatment’s benefits outweighed its risks. Read more here.

How Mental Health and Social Needs Are Intertwined — Inspiration from Other Countries on Connecting People with the Help They Need

The Commonwealth Fund’s most recent International Health Policy Survey dug into key questions around the state of mental health in the U.S. and nine other high-income countries, including who needs care, who can get and afford care, and how mental health is connected to needs beyond health. In this edition of the survey, we look more closely at social needs and mental health. In our analysis, we defined having a social need as always or usually worrying about having one of the following over the past 12 months: enough food; enough money to pay rent or mortgage; having a clean and safe place to sleep; or having stable job or source of income. Read more here.

CLINTON: Upcoming Plattsburgh mural aims to prevent and destigmatize suicide

COLUMBIA/GREENE: Report: Columbia, Greene county overdoses down since 2021

CORTLAND: ROAR Mural Revealed Yesterday Afternoon at Smith Intermediate School

CORTLAND: Cortland County mental health building sees construction delay

ERIE: Erie County examines health equity in annual report

ERIE: New funding comes to Oishei Children's Hospital's psychiatry clinic

ERIE/NIAGARA: Drug Users Offer Insight into Record Buffalo-Niagara Overdose Deaths: 'People Are Trapped'

FRANKLIN: OPWDD and SUNY North Country Community College Celebrate the SUNY Direct Support Professional Microcredential Program and Opportunities for Fall Enrollment

GENESEE: County calling reform to law driving up costs of ensuring defendants are mentally competent to stand trial

MID-HUDSON: Suicide prevention at Hudson Valley bridges: Lawmakers say more needs to be done

MONROE: Monroe County launches 'lifesaving' mental health mobile app

MONROE: New facilities and innovative methods help address Rochester’s need for mental health services

MONROE: County spending ARPA money to train health care workers

NYC: Addressing mental health solutions for Bronx youth

NYC: NYC groups bringing mental health care to city parks

NYC: Eight graduate from Queens’ treatment court

NYC: New York City Health Department Marks the Start of Pride Month and Hosts First Ever TGNCNB Summit

ONEIDA: Oneida Police Explain Crime Initiative

ORANGE: RECAP receives $5M for permanent housing project to help Newburgh women

ST. LAWRENCE: County rolls over $1.2 million in grant funding for Opioid Treatment Center

SULLIVAN: Sullivan passes its first-ever Pride proclamation

WESTCHESTER: Youth Shelter of Westchester receives $1.5M in funding. It’s all going toward mental health programs

WESTCHESTER: New law being introduced to the Hudson Valley to aid mental health issues

WESTERN NY: 'It's super important': Some Western New York schools prohibit phones in classrooms

CMS Releases Frequently Asked Questions on Medicaid and CHIP Coverage of Peer Support Services

Scientists Spot Gene Behind Form of Intellectual Disability Affecting Thousands Worldwide

Optum Acquired Refresh Mental Health, CARE Counseling To Attack Wait Times

Data-Driven Approaches Improve Behavioral Health Equity, Aid Payer Negotiations

Senators Aim to Limit Prior Authorizations, Install Community Hubs to Battle Fentanyl Crisis

Payers Reimburse Behavioral Health Hospital Services At 34% Below Costs

OPEN MINDS: Choosing The AI You Can’t Do Without

Service Dogs for Veterans and Military Members With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Nonrandomized Controlled Trial

Withdrawal symptoms hit one in six patients stopping antidepressants, review finds


Translating EDI Practice Into Action: Cultural Humility

June 6, 12 - 1 pm, Social Current

Breaking Down Barriers: Fostering Community Inclusion in Rural Communities for Individuals with Serious Mental Illness

June 6, 2 - 3:15 pm, Temple University

Practical Approaches to Identify, Develop and Support Leaders in the Mental Health Workforce

June 7, 12 - 1 pm, SMI Advisor

4th Annual Ask a Medicaid Managed Care Plan (MMCP): Billing Event

June 11, 10 am - 3 pm, Albany Capital Center

Grow Your Own Mental Health Professionals Program

June 11, 12 - 1 pm, MHANYS

2024-2025 Enacted Medicaid Budget Briefing Webinar

June 11, 12:30 - 2 pm, NYSDOH

Staying Engaged: Working with People with SMI and Criminal Involvement

June 11, 1 - 2 pm, SMI Advisor

Olmstead Decision and the Importance of Behavioral Health Workforce Innovation Webinar

June 11, 3 - 4:30 pm, SAMHSA

Recovery Ready Workplace Workshop - IN-PERSON in Newark, NY

June 12, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, FOR-NY

COA Accreditation and Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs)

June 12, 1 - 2 pm, Social Current

Wellbeing Wednesdays - Patrick J. Kennedy

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

Meeting the Needs: Aging Patients Facing Long-term Homelessness 

June 12, 2 - 3:30 pm, Corporation for Supportive Housing

To Inclusivity and Beyond!

June 12, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

Recovery Ready Workplace Workshop - IN-PERSON in Watertown, NY

June 13, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, FOR-NY

Suicide Prevention in Corrections: Clinical and Legal Implications 

June 13, 1 - 2:15 pm, American Jail Association

Introduction to Psychedelics for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorder

June 13, 1 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

FentAlert Challenge: Youth Innovators Advancing Fentanyl Overdose Prevention

June 13, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Beyond Video Visits: Using Asynchronous Telehealth to Improve Outcomes for Individuals with SMI

June 14, 3 - 4 pm, SMI Advisor

NYS Department of Financial Services (DFS) Complaint Submission Process Overview

June 13, 3 - 4 pm, NYSDFS

Transitions of Care in Mental Health

June 18, 2 - 3 pm, NACo

Supporting LGBTQ+ Communities with an Intersectional Lens

June 20, 12 - 1 pm, SJLA

Recovery Ready Workplace Workshop - IN-PERSON in Johnstown, NY

June 21, 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, FOR-NY

Ask the Expert: Community Response and Its Place in the Crisis Continuum

June 25, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

Medications for Alcohol Use Disorder in Patients with Liver Disease: Leveraging an Underutilized Tool

June 26, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The RED Tool: Identifying and Rectifying Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Treatment Court Programming and Outcomes

June 26, 2:30 - 4 pm, SAMHSA's GAINS Center

Addressing Racial Bias in AI for Equitable Substance Use Recovery

June 26, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

Building a Behavioral Health Continuum of Care: The Role of Rural Leaders and Behavioral Health Directors

June 27, 2 - 3 pm, NACo

Start with Hope: How Providers Can Navigate Culturally Responsive Substance Use Treatment and Care

June 27, 3 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

MOUD in Recovery Housing: An Exemplary Case Study of Implementing Holistic Care in Indiana

July 8, 1 - 2 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

The Intentional SUD Clinical Supervisor

July 17, 3 - 4:30 pm, NAADAC

Ask the Expert: Collaborative Approaches to Providing Mental Health and Law Enforcement Services

August 20, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center

Barriers to Care: Solutions for Mental Health and Substance Use Treatment Provision in Rural Communities

August 21, 12 - 1 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Ask the Expert: Family-Centered Reentry Programming

September 25, 2 - 3:30 pm, CSG Justice Center


Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA)

HRSA Health Workforce

NYS Grants Gateway

NY Health Foundation

OASAS Procurements

OMH Procurements

OPWDD Procurements

Rural Health Information Hub - New York

Better Grants Better Service (BGBS) | Rural Development (usda.gov)

SAMHSA Grants Dashboard



LSP Support Session #3

June 6: 12 - 2 pm

AOT Coordinators Meeting

June 7: 10 - 11:30 am

Membership Call

June 12: 9 - 10:30 am

Addiction Services & Supports (ASR) Committee Meeting

June 13: 11 am - 12 pm

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting

June 13: 1 - 2:30 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting

June 13: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Meeting

June 18: 10 - 11:00 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting

June 18: 11:30 am - 1 pm

CLMHD Office Closed - Juneteenth

June 19

Mental Hygiene Planning Committee Meeting

June 20: 1 - 3 pm

LSP Support Session #4

June 27: 1 - 2:30 pm

Links to State Guidance and Updates on COVID-19

NYS Coronavirus Vaccination Information

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)
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