NATIONAL ALLIANCE ON MENTAL ILLNESS

                                                         Email:  info@namiorangeny.org         
                                                     Website:  namiorangeny.org
                                                 Telephone:  845-956-NAMI (6264)                                                                               Toll-free:   1-866-906-NAMI (6264)
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      *Contact us if you wish to be added to our email database to receive meeting announcements


ADVOCACY:

Not losing MH beds to Coronavirus


Would you be interested in becoming a NAMI Orange board member?
If so, contact our office at 845-956-6264
or email info@namiorangeny.org

to learn about the application process



Upcoming Events/Outreaches





UPCOMING COURSES:


Virtual NAMI 
Family-to-Family

Jan. 2-Feb. 20 
8 consecutive Saturdays
Click link to register for next scheduled course since this course is now closed out




On-going  Support Groups:


NAMI Connection*Offered online through
NAMI Orange  1st & 3rd Thursdays 
7-8:30 pm

Email to register at 
info@namiorangeny.org

       

***********

*Offered online through
NAMI Sullivan Mondays, 7 pm

***********

*Offered online through
NAMI
capitalregionny

Tuesdays, 5 pm

*******

*Offered online through NAMI
Mid-Hudson
2nd Friday
of month 
6:30 pm

**********

NAMI Connection
a peer-led support group for adults living with a
mental illness.
No fee, no registration
PLEASE NOTE: 
unfortunately these meetings held in Goshen will not be able to resume until a later date, but online is available-
see above

*****





FAMILY 
SUPPORT
GROUPS
(Virtual)

presented by NAMI Orange
Click here for details

1st & 3rd Mondays
6:30-8 pm

Register by  emailing 
info@namiorangeny.org

o
r call Dhanu at
845-344-7681

with name, phone # and email


For ongoing Family
Support Group Meetings, click here
for Zoom meetings thru NAMI Sullivan
3rd & 4th Tuesdays
6:30-8 p.m.


NAMI Rockland,
click here for support groups including
Family Support
in Spanish
Thursdays: 3-4 pm
845-359-8784
 
*****
Virtual Support meetings for Parents of Children, Teens and Young Adults
Thursdays: 6-7 pm


 

Virtual Self-Injury Learning Collaborative 
Thursdays: 4 pm
through
Mental Health Empowerment Project


COVID 19
Support Group through
Garnet Health

3rd Tuesday, starting December 15

5:30-6:30 pm




NAMI In Our
Own Voice

CANCELLED  UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE




NAMI National Conference

June 30-July 3, 2021





NAMI Presentations:

Both programs are arranged by request

Click on links below for details

 -Ending the Silence
is an in-school presentation designed to teach middle and high school students about the signs and symptoms of mental illness, how to recognize the early warning signs and the importance of acknowledging those warning signs. Through this classroom presentation, students get to see the reality of living with a mental health condition.
*3 types of presentations are available: for students, for staff and also for families

Click above link for possible ETS ZOOM presentations


-In Our Own Voice
trained presenters who are in recovery from mental illness share compelling personal testimonies about their experiences of living with and dealing with the challenges posed by mental illness.


 


NEWS:


COVID-19 Relief Provisions in the New Package

NAMI has been advocating to ensure mental health is not left behind in COVID-19 relief legislation. Since the last COVID-19 package was passed months ago, NAMI advocates have sent more than 60,000 emails to Congress, NAMI leaders have held dozens of meetings with key Senate offices and the national office has worked with coalition partners to make support for mental health a reality.

Hits and Misses in the COVID-19 Package
The package included many wins for mental health, but it also did not include some of our priorities, which NAMI will keep pushing. Here’s a high-level overview, with a detailed overview below:

GOOD: $4.25 billion for SAMHSA, a priority that NAMI has advocated for since the last package earlier this year. This includes flexible funds that will be provided to states to fill gaps in their mental health and substance use disorder services and supports.
GOOD: Limits the liability of patients who unknowingly receive treatment from out-of-network providers, otherwise known as “surprise medical billing,” a priority NAMI has been working on.
GOOD: Ensures Medicaid beneficiaries can access non-emergency medical transportation, a priority for NAMI that we have been active on for several years.
GOOD: Provides additional funding for the Paycheck Protection Program and allows some organizations to apply for a second-round of funding, if they meet certain requirements.
BAD: Access to mental telehealth for Medicare beneficiaries was not improved.
BAD: Did not include the Medicaid Reentry Act, which would provide for the continuation of health care for people leaving criminal justice settings.
BAD: No additional funding was included for state governments through requested increases in the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP).

Detailed Overview: Provisions Impacting People with Mental Health Conditions

Mental Health Services
Provides $4.25 billion for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), including:
$1.65 billion for the Community Mental Health Services Block Grant
$1.65 billion for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant
$600 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinics (CCBHCs) Expansion Grant program
Note: not all states have CCBHCs, and they may not be available statewide in states that have this program.
$50 million for suicide prevention programs
$240 million for emergency-response grants to states that can target support where it is most needed, such as outreach to those experiencing homelessness
$50 million for Project AWARE to support school-based mental health for children
$10 million for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Note: The legislation also requires that not less than $125 million of the funds provided to SAMHSA go to tribal communities.

Health Care
Establishes important new mental health parity compliance protections by requiring health plans offering coverage in the individual or group markets to conduct comparative analyses of the nonquantitative treatment limitations (NQTLs) used for medical and surgical benefits compared to mental health and substance use disorder benefits.
Provides $3 billion for the “Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund” to help providers who lost revenue due to COVID-19. The legislation clarifies that “eligible health care providers” includes Medicare or Medicaid enrolled providers.
Addresses an issue known as “surprise medical billing,” which happens when a person with insurance coverage unknowingly receives treatment from an out-of-network provider and is then charged a higher amount than anticipated. The legislation ensures patients are only responsible for their in-network cost-sharing amounts, including deductibles, in both emergency and some non-emergency situations where patients do not have the ability to choose an in-network provider.
The legislation also requires accuracy of provider directories, a frequent challenge for people seeking mental health providers, by holding plans and providers accountable for inaccurate directories.

Housing
Extends the eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021
Provides $25 billion for Emergency Rental Assistance

Medicaid
After almost 25 years, restores Medicaid eligibility for citizens of the Freely Associated States (the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau) who reside in the United States. Since 1996, these individuals had been cut off from Medicaid, contributing to higher rates of sickness and death, and a greater COVID-19 impact.
Makes changes to ensure Medicaid recipients receive access to non-emergency medical transportation (NEMT), a critical benefit for people with mental illness.

Medicare
Unfortunately, adds a requirement that, in order for Medicare to pay for mental telehealth after the end of the Public Health Emergency, individuals must have had a prior relationship with a provider during the previous six-month period. This limits access to providers for those without a prior relationship.

Detailed Overview: Provisions for Nonprofit Organizations and Employees
The legislation includes resources for small businesses, including nonprofits like NAMI organizations, as well as individuals struggling with financial security. Highlights include:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
Renews funding for PPP with $284 billion. A certain amount of funding is set-aside for first-time borrowers (those who did not borrow in the spring or summer under the first rounds of funding).
Allows for second-time loans for organizations with fewer than 300 employees who spent their initial loans and also faced a minimum of a 25 percent decrease in gross revenue in a 2020 quarter compared to that same quarter in 2019. The maximum loan for second time borrowers is $2 million.
Simplifies the loan forgiveness application for loans of up to $150,000. It also adds additional qualifying expenses that are eligible for loan forgiveness, such as operating costs like software and cloud computing services.
When this bill is signed into law, more information will be available on the SBA website.

Individual One-time Cash Payments
Provides payments of $600 per individual and qualified child, with no cap on household size (adult dependents are not eligible). This payment will be provided to people with 2019 adjusted gross income up to $75,000, $112,500 for heads of households and $150,000 for married couples filing jointly. The payments phase out at higher incomes.
Note: This is a change from CARES Act payments earlier this year, where children were only eligible for a lesser amount than adults. Additionally, families that include individuals with mixed immigration status are now eligible for payments, as long as one spouse has a valid Social Security number.

Unemployment Benefits
Extends unemployment insurance benefits by 11 weeks (they were set to expire this month). They will now last until March 14, 2021. This extension also applies to individuals who are eligible for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program – people who are not usually eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, people with limited work history, etc.).
Provides supplemental unemployment benefits of $300 per week during this period in addition to what an individual receives from their state in benefits.

Charitable Giving Incentives
Extends through 2021 an earlier COVID-19 legislation program allowing individuals to deduct cash contributions to charities of up to $300 ($600 if married and filing jointly) per year without having to itemize deductions.


Study Reveals Adults With Mental Disorders Are At Significantly Higher Risk of COVID-19 and Have Poorer Outcomes

A systematic study based on the health histories of over 61 million American adults has found that people with a recent diagnosis of a mental disorder have a significantly increased risk for COVID-19 infection and tend to have worse outcomes than people infected with COVID-19 who don’t have a mental disorder.

“Recent diagnosis” in the study was defined as within the last year. Those recently diagnosed with depression had the greatest risk of COVID infection, followed by those recently diagnosed with schizophrenia.

For those recently diagnosed with a mental disorder who also contracted COVID-19, the death rate was 8.5%, far above the 4.7% death rate in COVID-19 patients in the study with no mental disorder.

The study showed that the negative impacts of COVID/mental health co-morbidities were most pronounced in African-Americans and women. Among people with a recent diagnosis of mental disorder, African-Americans were found to have a higher COVID-19 infection risk than Caucasians. Women with chronic or recent mental disorder diagnoses were more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than men.

The study was led by Nora Volkow, M.D., Director of the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). She is a member of the BBRF Scientific Council.

Her team examined electronic health records of 61.7 million Americans aged 18 or over, 11.2 million of whom (18%) had a lifetime diagnosis of a mental disorder—recently, within the last year, or prior. A total of 1.3 million in the database had a recent mental health diagnosis. Within the same set of 61.7 million people, 15,110 had been infected with the COVID-19 virus, and 5,450 of these individuals (36%) had a lifetime mental health diagnosis; of these, 3,430 were diagnosed within the last year. It was in this latter group—recently diagnosed and contracting COVID—that the death rate was 8.5%.

Importantly, the study, which appeared in the journal World Psychiatry, was designed to reveal correlations, but is not able to judge causality. Nevertheless, Dr. Volkow commented that “the proper control and management of mental disorders is one factor that will [tend to prevent] COVID-19 infection. If you’re delusional or hallucinating, you’re less likely to follow public health interventions. If you’re depressed, you may be unmotivated or you may not care.”

In their paper, Dr. Volkow and colleagues identify individuals with mental disorders as a “highly vulnerable population for COVID-19 infection.” They note that those with mental illness have “life circumstances that place them a higher risk for living in crowded hospitals or residences, or even in prisons,” environments in which infections can spread rapidly. Also, “people with serious mental illnesses are likely to be socioeconomically disadvantaged,” a fact which “might force them to work and live in unsafe environments. Homelessness and unstable housing may affect their ability to quarantine. Stigma may result in barriers to access to healthcare for patients infected with COVID-19, or make them reluctant to seek medical attention for fear of discrimination.”

The team also noted that “higher sensitivity to stress, common among patients with mental disorders, will make it harder for them to cope with the uncertainties, isolation, and economic challenges linked with the COVID-19 pandemic—increasing their risk for relapse and disease exacerbation.”

Yet another factor which may help explain the unique risks faced by those with mental disorders who contract COVID-19 is the increased likelihood that they suffer another major medical comorbidity such as heart disease, diabetes, COPD (lung disease), or substance-use disorders. All of these can contribute to greater severity and poorer outcomes in people who contract the virus.

The researchers suggest that overlapping biological factors may also be implicated. One example is elevated inflammation in the body, which not only can exacerbate COVID response but is also suspected of contributing, in at least some cases, to causality in depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.

Dr. Volkow and colleagues express the hope that their results will highlight “the need to recognize and address modifiable vulnerability factors and prevent delays in the provision of health care” in people with psychiatric disorders who are infected with the COVID-19 virus.

Drs. QuanQiu Wang and Rong Xu of Case Western Reserve University were co-authors of the paper.


Many COVID-19 patients later develop
mental illness, study finds
By Kenneth Garger 
New York Post, November 9, 2020

Twenty percent of coronavirus patients later develop a new mental illness, according to a study.

The most common disorders experienced by COVID-19 survivors within 90 days of their diagnoses are anxiety, depression and insomnia, according to the study published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

“People have been worried that COVID-19 survivors will be at greater risk of mental health problems, and our findings … show this to be likely,” said Paul Harrison, a professor of psychiatry at Britain’s Oxford University.

The study looked at the electronic health records of over 62,000 coronavirus patients in the US.

The study group was twice as likely to suffer from a new mental illness than other groups of patients during the same period, researchers said.

“This is likely due to a combination of the psychological stressors associated with this particular pandemic and the physical effects of the illness,” said Michael Bloomfield, a consultant psychiatrist at University College London who was not directly involved with the study.


Orange Regional Medical Center

changing name to

Garnet Health Medical Center

Excerpts from www.ormc.com/blog

On June 18, 2020, the Greater Hudson Valley Health System will change its name to Garnet Health.

“We are an organization that has led and embraced change over time and I hope you will join me in supporting another important milestone, the changing of our health system’s name to Garnet Health. The quality care we provide to our patients always comes first and Garnet Health will quickly become a name associated with excellence,” said Scott Batulis, President & CEO of Garnet Health.

Mr. Batulis added, “Garnet, the New York State gemstone, is a symbol of brilliance, quality, clarity and healing.

Garnet Health is the corporate parent of the following entities that will also change names on June 18, 2020:

Catskill Regional Medical Center in Harris, and Grover M. Hermann Hospital in Callicoon will be renamed Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills.

Orange Regional Medical Center in Middletown will be renamed Garnet Health Medical Center.

Catskill Regional Medical Group and Orange Regional Medical Group will be renamed Garnet Health Doctors.

Greater Hudson Valley Urgent Care in Middletown and Monticello will be renamed Garnet Health Urgent Care.

Catskill Regional Medical Center Foundation will be renamed Garnet Health Foundation – Catskills.

Orange Regional Medical Center Foundation will be renamed Garnet Health Foundation.

While the names of the system’s entities will change on June 18, 2020, the locations, phone numbers and services will remain the same. Garnet Health will still be the same independently-run, not-for-profit healthcare organization with the same management and voluntary board of directors comprised of community members.

For more information, visit garnethealth.org.

About Garnet Health
Garnet Health is a New York State, not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Middletown, New York, approximately 60 miles northwest of New York City. It is the corporate parent of Garnet Health Medical Center – Catskills, Garnet Health Medical Center, Garnet Health Doctors, Garnet Health Urgent Care, Garnet Health Foundation – Catskills and Garnet Health Medical Center Foundation. Garnet Health is dedicated to developing specialty services, medical programs and needed healthcare services that allow residents to remain close to home to receive quality care.

Providing healthcare to approximately 450,000 residents in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster Counties, Garnet Health was designed to improve the quality, stability and efficiency of healthcare services in the mid-Hudson and Catskill region. Garnet Health provides services by more than 4,000 employed professionals and over 850 medical staff members and is recognized by Ethisphere as one of the 2018 and 2019 World’s Most Ethical Companies. An academic affiliate of the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Garnet Health retains compassionate professionals who continually strive toward the hospital’s mission to improve the health of our community by providing exceptional health care. 


Improving Mental Health Should Be a National Priority

Mary Giliberti, CEO of NAMI 

in response to Parkland, FL shooting


NEW MEDICATION FDA-APPROVED FOR
TARDIVE DYSKINESIA


Mental Health Experts: Ban Conversion Therapy

Associated Press Article, THR, April 26, 2017

Albany--New York's mental health leaders are uniting to condemn psychological treatments designed to alter the sexual orientation of a minor.  The New York State Psychological Association and National Association of Social Workers' New York chapters on Tuesday urged lawmakers to outlaw conversion therapy, in which a counselor or a psychologist attempts to change a minor's sexuality.

Under pending legislation, any licensed mental health practititioner who performs conversion therapy could be cited for unprofessional conduct.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo last year barred insurance coverage for the therapy for minors and prohibited state mental health facilities from offering it. Six states and Washington, D.C. have similar laws.


Middletown In-patient Treatment Center
to Help Problem Gamblers


Richard C. Ward at 117 Seward Avenue in Middletown is one of six state-run addiction treatment centers at which problem gamblers in New York can now receive in-patient care. 

Gov. Cuomo said that the treatment centers have been granted waivers allowing them to admit people with problem gambling as their primary diagnosis.  The centers traditionally accept people with chemical dependencies.  The centers now have problem gambling clinicians on staff to provide inpatient services to people for up to 30 days. The facilities accept all patients regardless of their ability to pay.

"As part of New York's smart gaming policy we are committed to making sure that individuals who need help with gambling addiction have access to services in their own communities," said state Gaming Commission Executive Director Robert Williams.



Article in Poughkeepsie Journal regarding Stigma



NAMI Mourns the Loss of Patty Duke
(excerpt from NAMI-NYS Newsletter)

The mental health community lost one of our greatest champions, Academy Award winning actress Patty Duke. Ms. Duke was the first celebrity to openly discuss having bi-polar disorder and her courage helped countless people.

She was also a good friend to NAMI and a past recipient of the Lionel Aldridge Award. NAMI Executive Director Mary Giliberti said, "People like Patty advance our mission to break down stigma and the barriers it creates for people who live with mental illness. She once said, 'Stigma is born of ignorance and fear. The more that we can teach people, the less frightened they will be. Most important is that those who need help, who are feeling the way I felt when I was lying in bed for three months at a time, will know that I'm not inventing this, that it is real, that hope exists for them."

Click here to view NAMI full article on Patty Duke's passing. NAMI-NYS is grateful for her legacy and sends our condolences to her family.


Mandatory Electronic Prescriptions

The NYS law that went into effect on March 27, 2015 allowed a one year delay on mandatory electronic prescriptions - which means that on March 27, 2016 all prescriptions must be made electronically from the physician to the pharmacy (no hand-written prescriptions). The law is meant to reduce fraud and prescription errors, would apply to all physicians and all medications.

For more details, view the New York state Education Department's Office of the Professions Electronic Transmittal of Prescriptions 

$400 Million Boost In Budget for Mental Health

The House and Senate passed and the President signed the $1.1 trillion 2016 budget bill (HR 2029) late last Friday, Dec. 18. The great news is this budget bill includes important new investments in mental illness research and services including:

  • $85.4 million boost for research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • $50 million more for services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • $255 million increase for veterans mental health treatment

Read on to see more about how the 2016 budget impacts people with mental illness.

Mental Illness Research Funding

The 2016 budget bill includes the largest increase to mental illness research at NIMH since 2012. Overall, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a $2 billion increase, boosting funding to $32.1 billion. For 2016 the NIMH budget will be set at $1.548 billion–an $85.4 million increase above the 2015 level.

The budget bill also gives $150 million for the President’s BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies), an $85 million increase over the 2015 level and $15 million more than the President requested. This increase shows the strong bipartisan support that funding for the NIH has achieved in Congress.

Mental Health Services Funding

SAMHSA will receive a $160 million increase over 2015 levels, for a total budget of $3.8 billion. This is the largest single year increase for SAMHSA in the agency’s 20-year history. It shows the rise of both mental health and substance abuse treatment as national priorities.

The Mental Health Block Grant program received a $50 million increase–boosting funding to $532.57 million. Most importantly, the bill adds a series of new requirements on the Block Grant program to ensure that this increase is focused on evidence-based programs targeted to serious mental illness. The bill also doubles  the current 5% “set aside” for first episode psychosis (FEP) programs to 10%. NAMI, in partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), held a Congressional briefing in October to focus attention on the promise of First Episode Psychosis (FEP) programs such as those established through the NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) initiative and to ask Congress for this increase in funding.

The bill also provides $15 million for a new Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) pilot program through SAMHSA. NAMI will be encouraging SAMHSA to focus on funding projects modeled after San Francisco's new AOT program that include a significant outreach and engagement component prior to AOT or if an AOT order is necessary, to assist and empower people under AOT orders to realize their personal goals and achieve better outcomes.

Most other programs at SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) were level funded at their 2015 levels including:

  • $64.6 million for the PATH program – a state grant program to the states for outreach and engagement services for homeless individuals with serious mental illness.
  • $117 million for the Children’s Mental Health program–$300,000 below the current level.
  • $36.1 million for the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program.

Most programs under the CMHS Programs of Regional and National Significance (PRNS) are continued at current levels. Among these items are:

  • $49.8 million for the Primary-Behavioral Health Care Integration (PBHCI) program, which supports the co-location of services in behavioral health and primary care settings.
  • $54.9 million for suicide prevention activities, including the Garrett Lee Smith state and campus grant programs.
  • $49.9 million for new Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grants—a $10 million increase.
  • $14.9 million for Mental Health First Aid training.
  • $30.7 million for homelessness prevention programs.

Supportive Housing Funding

While the budget bill includes an increase of $1.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), most of that increase will go toward renewing rent and operating subsidies for existing units across HUD’s programs. For supportive housing programs, the bill does not include increases put forward in President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal.

In February, the President proposed $301 million in additional funding for development of new permanent supportive housing (PSH) under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. These new funds were projected to help end chronic homelessness by 2017. The President’s budget also called for a $25 million increase for the HUD Section 811 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PRA) program. These housing units are made available to states through a competitive process tied to efforts to promote community integration as an alternative to restrictive settings such as board and care homes serving people with severe disabilities (including serious mental illness).

The budget does not include either of these requests and instead provides only enough funding to renew the operating subsidies associated with existing PSH units in both programs. Funding includes:

  • $2.25 billion for McKinney-Vento, which is $115 million above the 2015 level, but $230 million below the President’s request.
  • $250 million to the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program under McKinney-Vento. ESG grants go towards:
    • Engaging homeless individuals and families living on the street.
    • Improving the number and quality of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families.
    • Rapidly re-housing homeless individuals and families.
  • $1.918 billion for the Continuum of Care (CoC) competition. It is projected that only $27 million would be available within the CoC competition for new PSH units. The CoC Program is designed to:
    • Promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness.
    • Quickly re-house homeless individuals and families while minimizing trauma.

For the HUD Section 811 program, the bill contains $150 million, an amount projected to fund renewal of all existing Project-Based Rental Assistance Contracts (PRACs)–roughly 30,000 housing units–with no funding for new units. The bill does include an additional $60 million in funding for new rental vouchers for supportive housing for veterans experiencing homelessness under the VASH program.

The budget bill also contains funding to renew all existing tenant-based and project based vouchers – $17.68 billion for tenant-based and $10.4 billion for project-based. It also boosts funding for the HOME program by $50 million, up to $950 million. Finally, the bill rejects a previous proposal in the House bill that would have redirected funds from the National Housing Trust Fund.

Veterans Funding

The funding bill provides an additional $2.369 billion in forward funding for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Care for 2017. This is $1.5 billion more than the 2015 bill. The VA operates on a two-year forward funding budget cycle in order to manage long-term planning for the largest health system in the nation. For Veterans mental health, the bill specifies $7.455 billion for 2016 and $7.715 billion in forward funding for 2017. This is a $255 million increase for the current year. Finally, the budget bill gives $630.7 billion for Medical and Prosthetics Research at the VA for 2016, a $41.8 million increase over current levels.

Criminal Justice Funding

The 2016 budget bill contains an increase of $1.5 million for Criminal Justice/Mental Health Collaboration grants funded through the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. This program, whose total funding will be $10 million in fiscal year 2016, provides vital grants to states and communities to support:

  • Jail diversion
  • Mental health courts
  • Law enforcement training
  • Community reentry programs for people with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders involved with criminal justice systems
- See more at: https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/$400-Million-Boost-In-Budget-for-Mental-Health#sthash.sxCcRwRB.dpuf

$400 Million Boost In Budget for Mental Health

The House and Senate passed and the President signed the $1.1 trillion 2016 budget bill (HR 2029) late last Friday, Dec. 18. The great news is this budget bill includes important new investments in mental illness research and services including:

  • $85.4 million boost for research at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
  • $50 million more for services at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
  • $255 million increase for veterans mental health treatment

Read on to see more about how the 2016 budget impacts people with mental illness.

Mental Illness Research Funding

The 2016 budget bill includes the largest increase to mental illness research at NIMH since 2012. Overall, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) received a $2 billion increase, boosting funding to $32.1 billion. For 2016 the NIMH budget will be set at $1.548 billion–an $85.4 million increase above the 2015 level.

The budget bill also gives $150 million for the President’s BRAIN Initiative (Brain Research through Application of Innovative Neurotechnologies), an $85 million increase over the 2015 level and $15 million more than the President requested. This increase shows the strong bipartisan support that funding for the NIH has achieved in Congress.

Mental Health Services Funding

SAMHSA will receive a $160 million increase over 2015 levels, for a total budget of $3.8 billion. This is the largest single year increase for SAMHSA in the agency’s 20-year history. It shows the rise of both mental health and substance abuse treatment as national priorities.

The Mental Health Block Grant program received a $50 million increase–boosting funding to $532.57 million. Most importantly, the bill adds a series of new requirements on the Block Grant program to ensure that this increase is focused on evidence-based programs targeted to serious mental illness. The bill also doubles  the current 5% “set aside” for first episode psychosis (FEP) programs to 10%. NAMI, in partnership with the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), held a Congressional briefing in October to focus attention on the promise of First Episode Psychosis (FEP) programs such as those established through the NIMH Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode (RAISE) initiative and to ask Congress for this increase in funding.

The bill also provides $15 million for a new Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) pilot program through SAMHSA. NAMI will be encouraging SAMHSA to focus on funding projects modeled after San Francisco's new AOT program that include a significant outreach and engagement component prior to AOT or if an AOT order is necessary, to assist and empower people under AOT orders to realize their personal goals and achieve better outcomes.

Most other programs at SAMHSA’s Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) were level funded at their 2015 levels including:

  • $64.6 million for the PATH program – a state grant program to the states for outreach and engagement services for homeless individuals with serious mental illness.
  • $117 million for the Children’s Mental Health program–$300,000 below the current level.
  • $36.1 million for the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program.

Most programs under the CMHS Programs of Regional and National Significance (PRNS) are continued at current levels. Among these items are:

  • $49.8 million for the Primary-Behavioral Health Care Integration (PBHCI) program, which supports the co-location of services in behavioral health and primary care settings.
  • $54.9 million for suicide prevention activities, including the Garrett Lee Smith state and campus grant programs.
  • $49.9 million for new Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grants—a $10 million increase.
  • $14.9 million for Mental Health First Aid training.
  • $30.7 million for homelessness prevention programs.

Supportive Housing Funding

While the budget bill includes an increase of $1.6 billion for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), most of that increase will go toward renewing rent and operating subsidies for existing units across HUD’s programs. For supportive housing programs, the bill does not include increases put forward in President Obama’s 2016 budget proposal.

In February, the President proposed $301 million in additional funding for development of new permanent supportive housing (PSH) under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. These new funds were projected to help end chronic homelessness by 2017. The President’s budget also called for a $25 million increase for the HUD Section 811 Project-Based Rental Assistance (PRA) program. These housing units are made available to states through a competitive process tied to efforts to promote community integration as an alternative to restrictive settings such as board and care homes serving people with severe disabilities (including serious mental illness).

The budget does not include either of these requests and instead provides only enough funding to renew the operating subsidies associated with existing PSH units in both programs. Funding includes:

  • $2.25 billion for McKinney-Vento, which is $115 million above the 2015 level, but $230 million below the President’s request.
  • $250 million to the Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG) program under McKinney-Vento. ESG grants go towards:
    • Engaging homeless individuals and families living on the street.
    • Improving the number and quality of emergency shelters for homeless individuals and families.
    • Rapidly re-housing homeless individuals and families.
  • $1.918 billion for the Continuum of Care (CoC) competition. It is projected that only $27 million would be available within the CoC competition for new PSH units. The CoC Program is designed to:
    • Promote a community-wide commitment to the goal of ending homelessness.
    • Quickly re-house homeless individuals and families while minimizing trauma.

For the HUD Section 811 program, the bill contains $150 million, an amount projected to fund renewal of all existing Project-Based Rental Assistance Contracts (PRACs)–roughly 30,000 housing units–with no funding for new units. The bill does include an additional $60 million in funding for new rental vouchers for supportive housing for veterans experiencing homelessness under the VASH program.

The budget bill also contains funding to renew all existing tenant-based and project based vouchers – $17.68 billion for tenant-based and $10.4 billion for project-based. It also boosts funding for the HOME program by $50 million, up to $950 million. Finally, the bill rejects a previous proposal in the House bill that would have redirected funds from the National Housing Trust Fund.

Veterans Funding

The funding bill provides an additional $2.369 billion in forward funding for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Care for 2017. This is $1.5 billion more than the 2015 bill. The VA operates on a two-year forward funding budget cycle in order to manage long-term planning for the largest health system in the nation. For Veterans mental health, the bill specifies $7.455 billion for 2016 and $7.715 billion in forward funding for 2017. This is a $255 million increase for the current year. Finally, the budget bill gives $630.7 billion for Medical and Prosthetics Research at the VA for 2016, a $41.8 million increase over current levels.

Criminal Justice Funding

The 2016 budget bill contains an increase of $1.5 million for Criminal Justice/Mental Health Collaboration grants funded through the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. This program, whose total funding will be $10 million in fiscal year 2016, provides vital grants to states and communities to support:

  • Jail diversion
  • Mental health courts
  • Law enforcement training
  • Community reentry programs for people with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders involved with criminal justice systems
- See more at: https://www.nami.org/About-NAMI/NAMI-News/$400-Million-Boost-In-Budget-for-Mental-Health#sthash.sxCcRwRB.dpuf


State may expand 'problem-solving' specialty-court access

Times Herald Record: September 21, 2015 by Heather Yakin

Right now, if people facing minor criminal charges qualify for a specialty court program for veterans or people with mental illness, they can only get into the program if they're in the right jurisdiction. Otherwise, they're shut out from interventions that could help them.

The state Office of Court Administration is weighing a rule change that would allow the transfer of low-level criminal cases for eligible defendants to the so-called "problem-solving" courts in the same county.

The plan is getting a warm reception.

"Whether or not someone gets the type of services they need shouldn't depend on where in the county they happen to live," said Kevin Walsh, managing attorney at the Orange County Legal Aid Society.

the best known of New York's problem-solving courts are the drug treatment courts which have shown success in reducing re-arrests among the participants.

There is a smattering of local specialty courts: Middletown and Port Jervis have mental health courts, Newburgh has a veterans' court and Sullivan County has a regional veterans' court. Newburgh and Kingson have domestic violence courts. Enrollment requires consent from the defense and prosecution. The courts provide appropriate treatment, as well as judicial supervision.

"It's been shown to be beneficial not only to our clients, but to the community," Walsh said.

Christopher Borek, chief assistant district attorney in Orange County, said District Attorney David Hoovler supports the specialty treatment courts, and has made a point to funnel defendants into those programs rather than pushing for prison or jail, when appropriate.

Sending appropriate defendants to jurisdictions where they can get those services would save judicial resources, Borek said.

Because specialty courts draw on so many resources, it's not feasible for every town and village court to have them. Permitting court transfers allows more people to benefit according to the May 18 memo in support of the rule written by the office of the state's chief administrative judge.

The state court system's Administrative Board - made up of Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman and the four presiding judges of the Appellate Division - is expected to weigh the proposed rule change at its September 24 meeting.

If the board approves the proposal, the measure will go to the Court of Appeals for final approval.

Heather Yakin will publish follow-up reports.

 


 


 

Governor Cuomo Signs into Law the Reintegration of People Living With a Mental Illness

 


 

 Occupations, Inc. has changed its name to

ACCESS: Supports for Living


 

World's first anti-psychotic patch
being tested by mental health trust

Wednesday 6th August 2014

By Hardeep Matharu

The world’s first anti-psychotic patch for people with disorders such as schizophrenia is being trialled by a mental health trust.

Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s research and development team is working with Richmond Pharmacology, a clinical research organisation, to investigate the use of a patch which releases the medication asenapine through the skin into the bloodstream.

This is an alternative non-invasive method of treatment to taking tablets or receiving injections.

Asenapine is licensed to manage the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder in America and in the UK for treatment of bipolar disorder, but this is the first time it has been administered using a patch on the skin.

Evidence suggests the gradual absorption of the drug over a longer period of time can reduce side-effects associated with taking it.

 

 


 

USA Today-

Cost of Not Caring: Stigma Set in Stone
Mentally Ill Suffer in Sick Health System

Click on the link above to read an excellent article in USA Today (06/26/14) divided into four chapters:

  • people with mental illness face legal discrimination
  • many wait nearly a decade for treatment
  • advocates chip away at discriminatory policies
  • overcoming the shame - speaking up heals old wounds which features David Granirer, Founder of Stand Up For Mental Health

 

 


 

    NAMI Calls on Congress to Promote Nationwide Expansion of Police Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT)
    The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is calling for nationwide expansion of Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT) to reduce fatal events involving police and people living with mental illness.

      


    Smoking Cessation for Patients Called an Urgent Priority
    article in the Psychiatric News

     

     

    Persons with Mental Health Conditions
    Found More Likely to Use Nicotine-delivery Devices 


     

    Researchers at University of California, San Diego School of Medicine report that people living with depression, anxiety or other mental health conditions are twice as likely to have tried e-cigarettes and three times as likely to be current users of the controversial battery-powered nicotine-delivery devices, as people without mental health disorders.

    They are also more susceptible to trying e-cigarettes in the future in the belief that doing so will help them quit, the scientists said. The FDA has not approved e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid.

    The study was published in the May 13 online issue of Tobacco Control.

    "The faces of smokers in America in the 1960s were the ‘Mad Men’ in business suits," said lead author Sharon Cummins, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine. "They were fashionable and had disposable income. Those with a smoking habit today are poorer, have less education, and, as this study shows, have higher rates of mental health conditions."

    By some estimates, people with psychiatric disorders consume approximately 30 to 50 percent of all cigarettes sold annually in the U.S.

    “Since the safety of e-cigarettes is still unknown, their use by nonsmokers could put them at risk,” Cummins said. Another concern is that the widespread use of e-cigarettes could reverse the social norms that have made smoking largely socially unacceptable.

    The study shows that smokers, regardless of their mental health condition, are the primary consumers of the nicotine delivery technology. People with mental health disorders also appear to be using e-cigarettes for the same reasons as other smokers – to reduce potential harm to their health and to help them break the habit.

    "So far, nonsmokers with mental health disorders are not picking up e-cigarettes as a gateway to smoking," Cummins said.

    The study is based on a survey of Americans’ smoking history, efforts to quit and their use and perceptions about e-cigarettes. People were also asked whether they had ever been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, depression or other mental health condition.

    Among the 10,041 people who responded to the survey, 27.8 percent of current smokers had self-reported mental health conditions, compared with 13.4 percent of non-smokers; 14.8 percent of individuals with mental health conditions had tried e-cigarettes, and 3.1 percent were currently using them, compared with 6.6 percent and 1.1 percent without mental health conditions, respectively.

    In addition, 60.5 percent of smokers with mental health conditions indicated that they were somewhat likely or very likely to try e-cigarettes in the future, compared with 45.3 percent of smokers without mental health conditions.

    "People with mental health conditions have largely been forgotten in the war on smoking," Cummins said. "But because they are high consumers of cigarettes, they have the most to gain or lose from the e-cigarette phenomenon. Which way it goes will depend on what product regulations are put into effect and whether e-cigarettes ultimately prove to be useful in helping smokers quit."

    Co-authors of this study include Shu-Hong Zhu and Anthony C. Gamst, Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, UCSD; Gary J. Tedeschi, UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center; and Mark G. Myers, Department of Psychiatry, UCSD.

    Funding for this research came from the National Cancer Institute (grant U01 CA154280).