June 1, 2023

CLMHD Welcomes New Director of Public Policy & Special Projects

We are proud to welcome Elizabeth Bruce, LMHC to the team as the Conference's new Director of Public Policy and Special Projects. Prior to assuming this role, Elizabeth served as the Children's Behavioral Health Coordinator for Schenectady County. In this capacity, she effectively coordinated community efforts to address crucial areas such as suicide prevention, trauma-informed care, and the implementation of comprehensive systems of care in response to the Children's Behavioral Health Redesign. Through her tenure in local government, Elizabeth developed a deep appreciation for the instrumental role played by each county's Local Government Unit (LGU) in shaping Local Service Planning, specifically tailored to the unique needs of their respective communities.


Before her time as the C-SPOA Coordinator for Schenectady County, Elizabeth gained invaluable experience working directly with youth and their families at Northern Rivers, holding various positions that ultimately led her to the role of Clinical Director of The School at Northeast. Additionally, she has provided therapy to children and their families through private practice and nonprofit positions, further demonstrating her commitment to supporting children and families in need. These rich experiences have ignited her passion for this work and serve as a driving force behind her relentless pursuit of systems improvement.


In addition to her varied responsibilities as Director of Public Policy & Special Projects, Elizabeth will provide support for Mental Hygiene Planning, Children & Families, and Developmental Disabilities Committee work, and will be the lead coordinator of projects funded by OMH and OPWDD. Welcome Elizabeth!

NYSBA Recommends Reducing Reliance on Prisons and Courts as the Primary Treatment for People With Mental Illness

The legal system needs to move away from its role as the primary treatment for people with mental illness, the New York State Bar Association recommends in a report approved by its Executive Committee. In the report, the Task Force on Mental Health and Trauma Informed Representation detailed the many ways that people in crisis end up entangled in the legal system. The association’s House of Delegates, its governing body, will consider the report at its meeting June 10 in Cooperstown. Read more here.

Few People Know About the 988 Lifeline – and Many Who Do Fear Calling it Will Lead to a Police Response

Almost a year after the launch of the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, only 13% of U.S. residents know the line exists and what it’s for – and many of those who do know are afraid that calling it will summon the police, according to a new survey. Even with the relatively low levels of awareness, the number of calls, on-line chats, and texts to the lifeline each increased considerably in April 2023 compared to the year before and, if this rate of increase continues, is on pace to roughly double the 2.4 million calls received annually from 2017 to 2021. 

Read more here.

Related: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline Centers’ Workforce Challenges and Barriers: Analysis and Recommendations

Integrating Behavioral Health In Primary Care: Overcoming Decades of Challenges

According to a poll last summer conducted by CNN in partnership with the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, 9 out of 10 adults in the United States believe that the country is facing a mental health crisis. This perception is well-founded. There are more than 150 million people living in areas where the number of health professionals relative to the population’s need falls below a certain threshold. The situation will worsen. Not only are there indications that the country’s mental health needs will continue to grow, but projections show that by 2025, the gap in fundamental mental health provider types will expand beyond 250,000 full-time equivalent employees. Read more here.

Amid a Mental Health Crisis in the U.S., A New KFF Report Examines the Steps that State Medicaid Programs Are Taking to Help Shore Up the Availability of Crisis Services

As the U.S. tries to address rising rates of mental health issues, the impact of the new 988 national crisis hotline and other innovations will be limited if states don’t have the underlying crisis services available when people are directed to them. The core crisis services include crisis hotlines that connect individuals to trained counselors, mobile crisis units that provide in-person crisis support services, and crisis stabilization units that provide short-term observation and crisis stabilization in a non-hospital environment.  A new KFF survey finds that state Medicaid programs, as the single largest payer of behavioral health services in the country, are taking steps to help implement and fund crisis services, though gaps remain. Read more here.

How One New Jersey County is Working Across Sectors to Address the Behavioral Health Crisis

Health care professionals and others recognize that Americans are in a behavioral health crisis, one exacerbated by the global pandemic. The direst outcomes of the crisis, deaths by suicide and 

overdoses, have increased over the past several years.

Isolation and lack of healthy social connections are significant predictors of those outcomes. There’s a growing recognition that an American “loneliness epidemic” is contributing to the behavioral health crisis. U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy recently 

published a report on the subject, as well as an advisory on the mental health impact of social media platforms on youth. While many of these challenges are national in scale, local communities are convening for frank discussions on behavioral health, sharing best practices, and identifying opportunities for cross-sector collaboration to address these trends at a local level.

Read more here.

Coordinating Systems of Care to Provide a Comprehensive Behavioral Health Crisis Response to Individuals Experiencing Homelessness

The Homeless and Housing Resource Center has released a new brief to the field: Coordinating Systems of Care to Provide a Comprehensive Behavioral Health Crisis Response to Individuals Experiencing Homelessness. This guide offers strategies that communities and behavioral health and homeless and housing systems can use to enhance crisis care for people experiencing homelessness. The guide includes helpful definitions, community examples, and strategies that both homeless and housing providers and behavioral health crisis providers can employ to strengthen partnerships and enhance care. Available for free download in both English and Spanish.

An Innovative Strategy to Access Harm Reduction Resources

Increasing access to empirically supported harm reduction resources, including naloxone, safer injection kits, and fentanyl test strips, could help prevent overdose deaths and other drug use related harms. This study evaluated the impact of an automated harm reduction resource machine on the accessibility of harm reduction supplies and the local incidence of fatal overdoses and HIV during its first year in operation. The research team evaluated the impact of the harm reduction dispensing machine during its first year using an observational study design, in which the researchers tracked the number of supplies distributed by the machine and rates of fatal overdoses and HIV without intervening to try and change the outcomes. Read more here.

Arts Help Rural Cities Creatively Support Community Mental Health

Local governments are struggling to help their communities navigate a growing mental health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, anxiety and depression increased by 25% worldwide in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, with youth and women most severely affected. At the same time, the healthcare workforce has dwindled, affecting the number of providers available to treat mental illness.  Mental Health America estimates that there are 350 individuals for every one mental health provider in the U.S. The Surgeon General’s advisory Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation from May 2023 outlines how loneliness and isolation are “profound threats” to health. Small cities in rural areas face even more challenges to connecting residents with the services they need. Seeking solutions, some local leaders are exploring how the healing power of the arts can be leveraged to address city-wide mental health challenges. Read more here.

BROOME/TIOGA: Open dialogue, support the center of interactive event to address youth mental health

CAPITAL REGION: As Capital Region drug overdoses spike, advocates point towards treatment for prevention

CHAUTAUQUA: Campaign to End Mental Health Stigma Expands Into Chautauqua County

CHAUTAUQUA: City schools seek building sale to mental health clinic

CHAUTAUQUA: Univera Grant To UPMC Chautauqua Supports Telehealth Expansion

CHEMUNG: Local mental health advocates bring awareness to rising depression, suicide rates

DUTCHESS: Program piloted in City of Poughkeepsie aims to reduce arrests, mitigate crime

DUTCHESS: New one-stop shop for New York veterans in the Hudson Valley

ERIE: Former Bisons VP and GM hopes to end suicide, mental health stigmas

GENESEE: Be aware of mental health 365 days a year

GENESEE: From diagnosis to research to hope: removing the mask of 'fine'

HERKIMER: Herkimer moves forward with Children’s Center

LIVINGSTON: Livingston County highlights mental health resources

MADISON: Madison County using text messaging tool to address overdoses

MONROE: Monroe County Executive Adam Bello Announces Installation of New Life Saving Station Boxes

NYC: New Initiative Reduces Wait Times for Mental Health Appointments for Domestic Violence Shelter Residents

NYC: New youth program center in the Bronx fosters unique learning environment for kids

RENSSELAER: Spike in Rensselaer County drug overdoses concerns leaders

ST. LAWRENCE: St. Lawrence Co. sees sudden overdose spike. "No drug is safe," health dept. says

STEUBEN: Veteran Support Program Approved in Steuben County

SULLIVAN: Sullivan County launches new veterans van

TOMPKINS: Grant Funds Study of Cannabis Effects on HIV-Infected Brain Tissue

ULSTER: Ulster County gathers community input on dealing with opioid use disorder

ULSTER: Ulster records 26 opioid-related deaths so far in 2023, officials say

WESTCHESTER: Westchester County Youth Leadership Taskforce Honored for Substance Abuse Prevention Efforts

Governor Hochul Announces New Actions to Drive Down Growing Presence of Illicit Drug Xylazine and Prevent Overdoses

Governor Kathy Hochul last week announced new actions to address the spread of xylazine in New York State, including a new effort to supply free xylazine test strips through the New York State Office of Addiction Services and Supports and Office of Mental Health programs, as well as directly to the public. Xylazine is a non-opioid sedative found in the unregulated drug supply with potentially harmful health impacts, especially when added to illicitly manufactured fentanyl. Xylazine is not responsive to naloxone, leading to complicated fentanyl overdoses. Read more here.

Related: More Than 80% of People Who Inject Drugs Test Positive for Fentanyl—But Only 18% Intend to Take It

Behavioral Health Equity Challenge

SAMHSA is sponsoring the “Behavioral Health Equity Challenge” for community-based organizations (CBOs) serving diverse racial and ethnic populations. Different than a grant application, CBOs are invited to share innovative outreach and engagement strategies by simply answering four questions to enter. Ten winners will each receive $50,000 and opportunities to be recognized. Visit Challenge.gov to learn about eligibility, participation rules and requirements. All submission materials must be submitted through Challenge.gov by June 8, 2023, 5 p.m. ET.

Report: NY Foster Kids Need Better Support

Ophelia Expands Access to Opioid Addiction Treatment Across New York State, Now In-Network with MVP Healthcare

Improved Care for Patients With Schizophrenia Is Needed, Experts Say

JAMA: Pharmacy Availability of Buprenorphine for Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in the US

Improving suicide prevention for women veterans: Recommendations from VHA suicide prevention coordinators

Vibrant Emotional Health to Create Advisory Board and Committing $600K to Address AANHPI Mental Health Needs Across America


Mental Health Equity and the Power of Self-Care

June 1, 12 - 1 pm, NIMH

Proposed Rules to Enhance Access and Quality for Medicaid HCBS and Strengthen the HCBS Workforce

June 1, 1 - 2 pm, Manatt Health

2023 Cannabis Legalization, Trends and Treatment

June 1, 3 - 4 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Promoting Mental Health Among Children and Youth

June 5, 11:30 am - 1 pm, BUT School of Public Health

Coping with Grief and Loss in the Harm Reduction Workplace

June 5, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

NYSTEC Population Health Innovation Summit

June 6, 8 am - 6 pm, Albany Capital Center, NYSTEC

Core Peer Navigator Project Informational Webinar

June 7, 1 - 2 pm, NYAPRS

The Role of CCBHCs in Strengthening Crisis Care

June 8, 10:30 am - 12 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Best Practices for Supporting and Affirming LGBTQI+ Youth: Updates from SAMHSA and the Field

June 8, 1 - 2:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Problem Gambling among Service Members and Veterans: Education, Awareness, and Outreach

June 9, 1 - 2:30 pm, SAMHSA

Strengthening the Opioid Use Disorder Workforce: Findings from a Groundbreaking Multi-State Survey of Peer Recovery Coaches

June 12, 3 - 4:30 pm, FORE

Healthy People, Health States: Promising Practices to Address Health Disparities

June 12, 3:30 - 4:45 pm, NASHP

Emerging Practices in Xylazine Wound Care

June 13, 12 - 1:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Creating an Integrated Trauma-Informed Workplace

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

Addressing the Complex Needs of Older Adults through Strong Community-Based Organization and Health Plan Partnerships

June 13, 2 - 3 pm, The Better Care Playbook

Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder: Bending the Trajectory

June 13, 3 - 4 pm, NCSACW

Older Adults and Suicide Prevention

June 14, 10 - 11 am, New York City and Upstate NY Poison Centers 

Navigating Medicaid Buy-In

June 14, 12 - 1 pm, MHANYS

DLTSS Training: Outcome-Based Payments in 1915(c) Waiver Programs

June 14, 1:30 - 3 pm, CMS

Building Successful Overdose Prevention and Response Programs in Community Corrections

June 14, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Developing Culture Champions to Promote an Inclusive and Welcoming Organizational Culture

June 14, 2 - 3 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Embracing Recovery-Oriented Harm Reduction in Medication Assisted Treatment

June 28, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

Emerging Respite Care Strategies in Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waivers

June 29, 3 - 4 pm, NASHP

Peer Support via Telehealth Platforms

June 29, 3 - 4 pm, NAADAC

New York State Summit on Peer Mentor Programs for Military Veterans

July 11 - 12, National Veterans Resource Center, Syracuse



CLMHD Office Closed - Memorial Day

May 29


Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting

June 1: 1 - 2:30 pm

AOT Coordinators Meeting

June 2: 10 - 11:30 am

Mentoring Session - MHL

June 6: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Executive Committee Meeting

June 7: 8 - 9 am

Addiction Services & Supports (ASR) Committee Meeting

June 8: 11 am - 12 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting

June 8: 3 - 4 pm

LGU Clinic Operators Call

June 13: 10 - 11:30 am

CLMHD Office Closed - Juneteenth

June 19

Children & Families Committee Meeting

June 20: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Membership Call

June 21: 9 - 10:30 am

Deputy DCS Call

June 27: 10 - 11 am

CLICK HERE for 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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