Behavioral Health During and After the Pandemic

The response of the behavioral health system to the COVID pandemic has been rapid and remarkable. But it is, of course, imperfect and incomplete. What are the challenges still to be met? And what will happen after the pandemic, hopefully, ends and we move on to a new normal? What Has Been Done...

Physical Health Should Be a Priority of the Mental Health System and Mental Health Should Be a Priority of the Health System

Over the past couple of years, it has become increasingly clear that physical health needs to be a priority of the mental health system and that mental health needs to be a priority of the health system. Why it took so long to realize this is not entirely clear to me, because the basic facts have...

The Behavioral Health Workforce Crisis: Past, Present, and Future

First on the list of topics for this issue of Behavioral Health News was “The Workforce Crisis Today.” That’s interesting because the workforce “crisis” is anything but new. For example, when I first entered this field during the height of deinstitutionalization in New York—the early...

Caring for Older Adults

We are now eight years into the “elder boom.” Sadly, the implications of this vast demographic shift are still not taken seriously. Yes, there is anxiety about sustaining Social Security and Medicare. And yes, there’s increasing talk about “healthy aging.” But even with these most obvious...

Leading the Way in Older Adult Mental Health: Recommendations for New York State

In 2005, New York State enacted the Geriatric Mental Health Act, the first act of its kind in the nation. With this legislation, New York demonstrated a significant commitment to older adults with mental health challenges, allocating $2 million per year in funding for statewide geriatric mental...

To Improve Adolescent Mental Health, We May Need to Address Adverse World Events

It appears that the prevalence of mental disorders among adolescents has been increasing. The National Survey of Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) shows an increase in major depressive episodes.1 A study about children and adolescence who are eligible for SSI by virtue of mental disabilities found an...

Put Mental Health into “Healthy Aging”

In June 2019 the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) issued a report on the health of older adults5. That’s good news since it reflects serious recognition of the aging of the population of New York City and of the need for the field of public health to pay greater attention to...

Will “System Transformation” Transform the System? Before We Celebrate: 20 Questions That Need Answers

System transformation is underway in New York State and throughout the United States through the development of elaborate financial structures such as accountable care organizations and health homes. No doubt these new structures will change the way business is done in the mental health system. But...

Deaths of Despair: Social Research Suggests Troubling Trends for the Next Generation of Older Adults

Recent social research suggests that the next generation of older adults may be more troubled than the current and previous generations. This, of course, is counterintuitive. 70 is the new 50, we say; 80 the new 60. We are living longer, and we are healthier, right? Yes, but will the next...

Legalization of Drugs: The Ultimate Harm Reduction Measure

Illegal drugs are dangerous, but many of their dangers are caused by their illegality rather than the drugs themselves. Yes, the use of illegal (and some legal) drugs results in addiction. But if we really want to reduce the dangers of drug abuse, we must address its illegality as well as the...