InvisALERT Solutions – ObservSMART

Governor Hochul Launches $102 Million Effort to Expand Care and Treatment for New Yorkers with Serious Mental Illness

  • $92 Million to Develop 26 Teams Providing “Critical Time Intervention” for Discharged Patients Receiving Mental Health Care Services
  • $10 Million to Expand ‘Safe Options Support’ Initiative Which Has Successfully Moved Nearly 390 Long-Term Homeless New Yorkers Into Stable Housing
  • Investments Are Part of Governor Hochul’s Nation-Leading $1 Billion Plan to Transform the Mental Health Continuum of Care

Psychotherapist taking notes with client on the couch

On March 21, 2024, Governor Kathy Hochul launched a $102 million effort to broaden wraparound care for individuals with serious mental illness. Governor Hochul announced more than $92 million will be deployed to develop 26 Critical Time Intervention teams, which provide continued support and care coordination for individuals living with mental illness. In addition, Governor Hochul also announced that up to $10 million will be deployed to develop additional ‘Safe Options Support’ teams that focus on youth and young adults; the Safe Options Support initiative has already helped nearly 390 long-term homeless individuals move from the streets into stable housing. This new funding is part of Governor Hochul’s nation-leading $1 billion plan to transform the mental health continuum of care.

NYS Governor Kathy Hochul

NYS Governor Kathy Hochul

“New Yorkers struggling with serious mental illness deserve care, treatment and support,” Governor Hochul said. “The mental health crisis is the defining challenge of our time, and New York will deploy every resource at our disposal to address this crisis.”

These investments are part of Governor Hochul’s $1 billion plan to strengthen New York State’s mental health care system by adding capacity system-wide, expanding existing programs with a record of success, such as SOS, and funding new evidence-based initiatives, including CTI. The Governor’s plan will establish 50 CTI teams and further expand the SOS program.

CTI teams are a key component of the proposed OMH regulations setting the expected standard of care for assessing, evaluating, and discharging individuals with behavioral health conditions from facilities the agency oversees. Similar regulations were also proposed by the state Department of Health for certain hospitals the agency oversees.

Ann Sullivan, MD Commissioner NYS Office of Mental Health

Ann Sullivan, MD
NYS Office of Mental Health

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Some individuals living with mental illness may for a period of time need intensive community supports to help them on their road to recovery. By creating Critical Time Intervention teams and expanding the Safe Options Support program, we can provide assistance, work with individuals and families to access the services they need and enable them to thrive in their communities. Through these initiatives, Governor Hochul is fulfilling her commitment to ensure all New Yorkers have access to quality affordable mental health care.”

The New York State Office of Mental Health will provide up to $41.2 million to establish ten Critical Time Intervention teams to serve Upstate counties; $32.2 million to establish five teams to serve New York City, Westchester County and Long Island; and $19.4 million to establish 11 teams to serve rural areas statewide.

The new CTI teams will serve adults with complex mental health conditions – including co-occurring substance use, medical conditions, or co-occurring intellectual or developmental disabilities – and those being discharged from an inpatient psychiatric hospital. The teams will also support individuals being discharged from emergency department or other crisis services who are not engaged in treatment, lack community support, or are at risk of losing their housing. Earlier this year, OMH made more than $55 million available to establish the first nine Critical Time Intervention teams in New York City and Long Island to serve adults.

In addition, OMH is now accepting proposals for $10 million in state funding to create two new SOS teams in New York City to serve young adults experiencing homelessness, which puts them at increased risk of victimization, such as through sex or labor trafficking. These teams are staffed by mental health specialists and provide support and care coordination, with a goal of finding them permanent housing.

To date, SOS teams serving New York City have secured stable housing for nearly 390 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness, many of whom also suffer severe and chronic mental illness. These teams have had roughly 21,000 outreach encounters and enrolled more than 1,700 clients with serious mental illness into the program since its inception in spring 2022.

This article was originally published on March 21, 2024, and can be found here.

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