March 28, 2024

In Prospect Park, Picnics, Dog-Watching and Chats About Mental Health

Jared Grant and Jonathan Timal, two recent college grads sporting puffy coats and backpacks, were out in Prospect Park on Monday morning approaching New Yorkers with a novel request: They were conducting a survey to find out “how people are doing.” Grant and Timal are part of a crew of six community health workers who are fanning out in parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx to ask people about their mental health and a wide range of factors that might contribute to it, such as their physical health, whether they feel safe at home, and whether they have issues with housing or food security. They look to connect people with resources like mental health programs, eviction prevention and food pantries. Their outings are part of a city pilot program called the Community Support Network, which launched six months ago and expanded into Prospect Park this month. Read more here.

DiNapoli: Percentage of New Yorkers With Mental Illness Rose as Available Psychiatric Beds Declined

The mental health needs of New Yorkers have greatly increased, with 21.1% of adults struggling with mental Illness and 5.1% with a severe mental illness in 2021-2022, according to federal data. Between 2013 and 2022, there was a 23% increase in the number of individuals served by the state’s public mental health system, with nearly 900,000 residents utilizing the services. According to a report by State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli, the rising need for mental health services coincided with a loss of 990 beds, a 10.5% drop in capacity, in inpatient psychiatric facilities statewide between April 2014 and December 2023. “Increased mental health services are urgently needed to meet the rising demand for care,” DiNapoli said. “With the COVID pandemic behind us, New York must redouble its efforts to restore inpatient psychiatric bed capacity and preserve and expand telehealth services.”

Read more here.

Longtime Orange County Commissioner to Retire

Darcie Miller, Orange County’s Mental Health and Social Services commissioner, will retire this summer after working in county government for more than three decades. In a heartfelt email to her staff, Miller wrote that her anticipated retirement date will be June 21. County Executive Steven Neuhaus, who had high praise for Miller, said the administration will be discussing the future roles given her two commissioner posts at present. “We are going to be talking about that and how we are going to move forward. We have plenty of time. She has been a big ally of mine and is one of the most respected people in government,” he said. Read more here.

They’re Not Cops. They Don’t Have Guns. But They’re Responding to More 911 Calls.

People experiencing mental or behavioral health crises and addiction have often been subject to police use of force, arrest and incarceration. One of the most common new approaches — and one that has rapidly gained traction since 2020 — are civilian co-responder programs, in which behavioral health specialists, often social workers, show up to certain emergency calls alongside police. These can include situations like suicide threats, drug overdoses, and psychiatric episodes. Typically, the officers on the team have special training in crisis intervention. These programs are often popular with law enforcement, while some critics argue that they don’t do enough to remove police from the situation. Read more here.

WMHT Public Media Announces Premier of ‘Opioids in NY: Stories and Solutions’ Examining New York’s Opioid Epidemic

WMHT Public Media, a multichannel public communications organization serving Eastern New York and Western New England, today announced the premier of an original one-hour program examining one of New York’s most pressing issues: the opioid epidemic. Opioids in NY: Stories and Solutions, presented across multiple media platforms and available to public broadcasting partners statewide, explores the addiction and overdose crisis that has devastated families and communities across the state. Read more here.

Related: CDPHP, Congressman Paul Tonko, Community Care Physicians Join Forces to Combat Opioid Epidemic 

Biden-Harris Administration Builds on the Success of the Affordable Care Act by Streamlining Enrollment in Medicaid and CHIP Coverage


The Biden-Harris Administration on Wednesday unveiled a final rule that will protect and improve how millions of eligible people apply for, renew, and maintain health care coverage through Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Basic Health Program (BHP). The Streamlining the Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program, and Basic Health Program Application, Eligibility Determination, Enrollment, and Renewal Processes rule will remove red tape and barriers to enrollment, update and build on the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) coverage protections and ensure that millions of Americans can get and keep their coverage. Read more here.


Related: Some Medicaid Providers Borrow or Go Into

Debt Amid ‘Unwinding’ Payment Disruptions

Medicaid Disenrollments Surpass 18M, Exceeding HHS Projections

Modernizing Behavioral Health Systems: A Resource for States

State health officials are prioritizing access to quality behavioral health services and supports across the continuum of care, enhancing capacity for interventions where and when people need them. The increase in demand, morbidity and mortality sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic remains at crisis levels and is exacerbating existing challenges, such as diminished provider capacity and workforce issues. In response, the National Academy of State Health Policy (NASHP), with support by The Commonwealth Fund, embarked on an 18-month project focused on identifying state strategies to modernize the behavioral health system — with a focus on non-elderly individuals at risk of or already experiencing identified needs. This resource synthesizes strategies for state policy makers gleaned from multiple engagements with state behavioral health leaders across the country and through intensive multi-state technical assistance. Read more here.

A Paramedic Was Skeptical About This Rx for Stopping Repeat Opioid Overdoses. Then He Saw It Help.

OCALA, Fla. — Fire Capt. Jesse Blaire steered his SUV through the mobile home park until he spotted the little beige house with white trim and radioed to let dispatchers know he’d arrived. There, Shawnice Slaughter waited on the steps, wiping sleep from her eyes. “Good morning, Shawnice,” Blaire said. “How are you feeling today?” “I’ve been good, I’ve been good,” Slaughter said. “Much better.” Three days earlier, Blaire — a paramedic who leads the fire department’s emergency medical team — met Slaughter at a nearby hospital. She had overdosed on opioids. It took four vials of an overdose reversal medication and dozens of chest compressions to get her breathing again. Read more here.

Related: Linkage to Care Across County Systems: A NACo Opioid Solutions Strategy Brief

States Seek Ways to Keep Veterans Out of the Criminal Justice System

Nearly a quarter-century has passed since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Since then, 4 million Americans have served in the armed forces, more than half of them in Iraq and Afghanistan. They have been deployed more often than any previous generation of veterans. Most manage the transition to civilian life successfully, but many struggle to emerge from their accumulated stresses and become entangled in the criminal justice system. Over the past two years, the Veterans Justice Commission (VJC) has been working to identify ways to keep trouble with the law from becoming trouble for life. Read more here.

Using Health Literacy Strategies to Advance Equity in Medicaid

Nine out of 10 adults in the U.S. struggle with health literacy, the skills necessary to understand and use health information to make important care decisions. Limited health literacy contributes to worsened health outcomes, greater costs, and even higher mortality. Limited health literacy is also prevalent among populations that have been marginalized, potentially exacerbating existing health and health care disparities across factors like race and ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, and insurance type. Limited health literacy disproportionately impacts Medicaid members. 60% of people with Medicaid coverage are either at “below basic” or “basic” health literacy levels compared to only 24% of those with employer-sponsored coverage. State Medicaid agencies, which serve large, diverse populations, are uniquely positioned to deploy innovative health literacy strategies and advance health equity at scale. Read more here.

988 Mental Health Crisis Calls May Soon Be Routed Based On Location Rather Than Area Code

The US Federal Communications Commission has taken the first step toward adopting a rule that would require telecommunications companies to route calls to the 988 suicide and crisis lifeline based on the caller’s physical location rather than their phone number’s area code. FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said she has submitted a notice of proposed rulemaking to the full commission and expects the rule to pass a vote in the next several weeks, given bipartisan support for the change. “When people reach out to 988 for help, they should have confidence that the support they receive is local,” she said in a news release. Read more here.

Related: Counties Applaud Action to Improve 9-8-8 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

The Rise of Emergency Room Mental Health Crisis Units

Dr. Scott Zeller, past president of the American Association for Emergency Psychiatry and vice president of acute psychiatry at Vituity, has long been troubled by disparities in emergency medicine. “When you come to the emergency room with an asthma attack, staff start you on treatment right away,” he said, adding that emergency medical care aims to treat the person and discharge them or admit them to the hospital. That’s not the case with mental health emergencies. People can spend hours languishing, without treatment, in the emergency room waiting for an inpatient psychiatric bed, a practice called psychiatric boarding. Lawsuits across the nation have increased attention on the issue. As with medical emergencies, people in mental health and substance use emergencies respond best when treatment is initiated quickly. Read more here.

ALBANY: Mental health app looks to aid first responders

ALLEGANY: Allegany County “Threat Assessment Management” team is becoming a reality

BROOME: Broome County Sheriff wants ‘Opvee,’ a new tool to fight opioid epidemic

CAYUGA: Walsh: Meet Cayuga County mental health's new therapy dogs

CHAUTAUQUA: Chautauqua County Recognized at United Nations for Bold Efforts Against Drug Addiction

CHAUTAUQUA: JCC offering direct support professional short-term program at no cost

CHEMUNG: Casa-Trinity's groundbreaking ceremony for new Crisis Stabilization Center, Mental Health Clinic, and Residential Wellness Center

CLINTON: 988 Lifeline coverage expanded in North Country as suicide rates spike

CORTLAND: Free suicide prevention training, ‘SafeTALK,’ offered in Cortland County

FINGER LAKES: Millions coming to Finger Lakes region to improve health care access

GENESEE: 'We have a tremendous need': Students get hands-on experience in the health care industry

GENESEE/ORLEANS/WYOMING: 'Drop the Vape' program to help reduce youth tobacco usage and addiction


LIVINGSTON: Geneseo, Avon discussions to focus on children's mental health

LONG ISLAND: Connecting vulnerable Long Islanders to stable housing and specialized care

NIAGARA: County Sees Rise in Cost for Housing Homeless in Hotels, Motels

ONONDAGA: Area high school develops innovative fix to learning loss

NYC: CPC Receives $500,000 to Boost Mental Health Services Program

NYC: NAMI-NYC Awarded $750,000 Federal Earmark to Enhance Mental Health Family Support and Peer-Based Programs

NYC: An Open-Air Approach to Mental Health Treatment

NYC: North Central Bronx hospital announces launch of satellite CPEP program

NYC: Mayor Adams Op-Ed | Giving a raise for New York City’s human services workers

NYC: H+H Plans $8M Substance Use Disorder Clinic for Pregnant People and Families

ONONDAGA: Fulton Friendship House and Helio Health Merger Complete

ST. LAWRENCE: SUNY Canton, SUNY Potsdam receive $250,000 each from state for mental health services

SULLIVAN: Efforts to improve health ranking pays off

TIOGA/TOMPKINS: Tompkins and Tioga counties address youth mental health with ACT Program

WESTCHESTER: Westchester County launches multidisciplinary threat assessment center

WESTCHESTER: Westchester County Hosts 6th Annual CODA You(th) Summit

Explore Resources to Enhance Awareness of Youth Peer Advocates in Your Community and Boost Recruitment Efforts

OMH has developed a collection of materials specifically crafted for agencies to effortlessly share and display in their communities. Visit the NYS SOC Website to explore an array of customizable digital images for social media, as well as palm cards and posters aimed at educating, raising awareness, and supercharging recruitment efforts for youth peer advocates! Included on the website is access to Engaging Digital Content, Printed Materials, Customizable Materials, and Multilingual Materials.

Drive awareness and interest in available youth peer advocate positions through utilization of these advertising options!

Expanding Access to Virtual Behavioral Care: Navigating State and Federal Regulations

2024 could prove pivotal for virtual behavioral health as the federal government considers making COVID-era telehealth flexibilities permanent. Federal and state regulations can heavily influence the availability of behavioral telehealth appointments. For behavioral health providers who provide care to Medicaid beneficiaries, or who prescribe controlled substances for conditions like substance use disorders (SUDs), regulations can be even more restrictive. Several regulations that have created flexibility for behavioral health providers offering virtual care may change or expire later this year. Still, the federal government is signaling that telehealth is likely here to stay. Read more here.

How to Reform Correctional Mental Health Care

“Trans-institutionalization” refers to the shift of seriously mentally ill adults from the care of psychiatric institutions to correctional institutions. Some dispute the magnitude, but no one denies the high rate of serious mental illness among the incarcerated, or that jails and prisons are poor settings in which to treat serious mental illness. Correctional mental health care now stands as one of the most important mental health care systems in the nation. Jails and prisons are legally obligated to serve the seriously mentally ill, whereas community-based systems are not. This report will explain how corrections-based systems function. It will place those systems in the context of debates around “jail abolition,” explain their workforce and financial challenges, and recommend reforms. Read more here.

WMHT Public Media announces premier of 'Opioids in NY: Stories and Solutions Examining New York's Opioid Epidemic'

High Rates of Suicidal Ideation in Rural Black Men


New study reveals preventable suicide risk profiles

More Women Are Drinking Themselves Sick. The Biden Administration Is Concerned.

The Design Trends Transforming Substance Use Disorder Treatment Facilities

JAMA: Prison Buprenorphine Implementation and Post Release Opioid Use Disorder Outcomes


How expanded methadone access helped Switzerland defuse its drug crisis


Creating a Roadmap to Value-Based Care in Autism


Comorbidities In Patients Living With Bipolar I Disorder

March 28, 12 - 1 pm, PsychU

Understanding the Mind-Body Response to Chronic Loneliness

March 28, 2 - 3:30 pm, National Council for Mental Wellbeing

Accountable Care Organization Primary Care Flex Model (ACO PC Flex Model) Overview Webinar

April 4, 2 - 3 pm, CMS

Naloxone in Public Housing: Success in St. Louis

April 4, 2 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA

Empowering Change in the SUD Ecosystem

April 10, 12 - 1 pm, Health Management Associates

Advancing Crisis Communications: Highlighting Models of 911/988 Collaboration

April 11, 2 - 3 pm, NACo

Child and Adolescent Mental Health for Primary Care Clinicians

April 15 - 16, 9 am - 5 pm, Project TEACH

Outreach and Unsheltered Homelessness: Strategies for Health Centers and Service Providers

April 18, 2 - 3 pm, HRSA

The Essentials and Beyond of Perinatal Psychiatry: Psychopharmacology & Psychotherapy

April 21, 12 - 4 pm, Project TEACH

Beyond the Numbers and Visuals: Building Your CBO Data-Driven Digital Marketing Strategy

April 25, 2 - 3:30 pm, SAMHSA

2024 System of Care Virtual Summit 

May 14 - 16, 12 - 5 pm, NCCTAC

Identifying Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in a Death Investigation

May 16, 2 - 3 pm, OMH SPCNY

Introduction to Psychedelics for the Treatment of Substance Use Disorder

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


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

SAMHSA Grants Dashboard



Executive Committee Meeting

April 3: 8 - 9 am

LGU Clinic Operators Meeting

April 9: 10 - 11:30 am

Addiction Services & Supports (ASR) Committee Meeting

April 11: 11 am - 12 pm

Developmental Disabilities Committee Meeting

April 11: 1 - 2:30 pm

Mental Health Committee Meeting

April 11: 3 - 4 pm

Children & Families Committee Meeting

April 16: 11:30 am - 1 pm

Membership Call

April 17: 9 - 10:30 am


Executive Committee Meeting

May 1: 8 - 9 am

Quarterly LGU Billing Staff Call

May 7: 11 am - 12 pm

CLMHD Spring Full Membership Meeting

May 8 - 10, Lake George, NY

LGU Clinic Operators Meeting

May 14: 10 - 11:30 am

Membership Call

April 17: 9 - 10:30 am

Children & Families Committee Meeting

May 21: 11:30 am - 1 pm

LSP Support Session

May 23: 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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