Hochul announces $3.3M to expand mental health services for youth

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks to reporters after a ceremonial swearing-in ceremony at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Albany, N.Y.
Associated Press/Hans Pennink

Gov. Kathy Hochul recently announced more than $3.3 million to community-based healthcare providers that will increase access to mental health services for children and families across the state.
Administered through the state Office of Mental Health, the federal funding is aimed at helping community-based service providers better serve children and youth who are dually diagnosed with mental illness and a developmental disability or substance use disorder.
“Access to mental health programs is a critical component of our efforts to ensure New Yorkers receive the care they need for themselves and their loved ones,” Gov. Hochul said. “Too often, vulnerable populations face barriers in their ability to access mental health services, and these grants will help expand access to statewide programs, helping support more young New Yorkers to properly address their mental health needs.”
The grants are funded through the American Rescue Plan Act and time-limited expansion of the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage share of funds for Medicaid programs.
Community-based healthcare providers were invited to propose innovative projects to meet the needs of the children and families they serve.
Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “These grants will allow our healthcare providers in communities across the state to enhance and expand the services they provide to vulnerable youth living with mental health challenges, as well as substance use disorders or developmental disabilities.
“By increasing access, engagement and coordination of treatment and services, our community-based partners will be able to effectively serve many more youth and families,” she added.
Office of Addiction Services and Supports Commissioner Chinazo Cunningham said, “A comprehensive approach to treating both mental health and substance use conditions is an important part of the care provided to people across New York State. These are important initiatives that will serve a vital need, and thanks to this funding, more young people will have opportunities to access these critical services in their own community to support their long-term health.”
Office for People With Developmental Disabilities Commissioner, Kerri Neifeld said, “Access to comprehensive healthcare for youth with developmental disabilities who struggle with a mental health or substance use disorder addresses a gap in services for children and their families. OPWDD is grateful to Governor Hochul for this funding to increase community-based health providers to help ensure healthy and successful lives for the people we support.”
The awards include more than $1 million that was divided among 35 not-for-profit community-based programs that operate under contracts with the Office of Mental Health or are funded by the agency or county mental health departments with local funds or state aid.
Hochul said these awards will support expanding suicide prevention initiatives, respite programs, family and youth peer support services and children’s non-Medicaid managed care programs.
Another $760,000 was divided among 19 community-based providers to support efforts to establish mechanisms to increase engagement and reduce the reliance on emergency services for transportation.
Funded projects include the purchase of metro cards to help remove transportation barriers for people receiving services, and expansion and enhancement of High-Risk Outpatient Mental Health Services.
The awards also include $760,000 that was split among 19 programs to establish or enhance service coordination and multidisciplinary teams. Funded projects include implementation of an electronic data collection system and the creation of a Multi-Disciplinary Team meeting coordinator and facilitator for a provider’s Children’s Mental Health Rehabilitative Services Program.
Another $280,000 was split between seven programs aimed at expanding services for co-occurring treatment, for patients who are living with mental illness as well as a developmental disability or substance use disorder.
The governor said funded projects include addition of a clinician for dually diagnosed adolescents, providing staff training in medication-assisted treatment and trauma-based cognitive behavior therapy and implementation of an evidence-based treatment model for adolescents and young adults designed to decrease harmful substance use and improve mental health.
Additionally, NYU Langone Health and the State University of New York at Stony Brook were each awarded $250,000 to provide training that will help mental health care providers better serve dually diagnosed people who are living with mental illness and a developmental disability.
Training will include increasing awareness of evidence-based approaches and skills to better engage and treat dually diagnosed youth and families.
State University of New York Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said, “The long-term impact of the COVID crisis on our mental health will be significant, especially for young people who encountered significant challenges of fear, isolation, anxiety, and depression throughout the pandemic.
“It’s imperative that we provide sufficient resources to address this shadow epidemic in order for the next generation to truly thrive and succeed,” she said. “We applaud Stony Brook University for not only helping students, but also providing these critical services to the broader community at a time when it is needed most.
“Thank you to Gov. Kathy Hochul for her leadership in directing mental health services, and to the Office of Mental Health for their partnership,” Stanley continued.
Principal Investigator Dr. Lauren Donnelly, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, Hassenfeld Children’s Hospital at NYU Langone, said, “This grant will allow us to take the training and consultation model we’ve implemented throughout New York City and offer in-depth, evidence-based trainings to providers across New York State.
“We thank Governor Hochul and the state Office of Mental Health for the support to increase provider confidence and skills in working with this population, and meet this vital need,” she said.
Stony Brook University President Maurie McInnis said, “Governor Hochul’s allocation of mental health funding to support provider training is a critical and greatly needed step forward in ensuring those diagnosed with mental illness and a developmental disability have access to the care they deserve.
“People with disabilities may often encounter challenges when seeking out effective and accessible mental health care, but with increased training that allows clinicians to partner closely with patients and family members, it brings specialized, effective treatment options to those who need it,” McInnis said.

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