The Department of Mental Health applied to a SAMHSA Community Mental Health Block Grant aimed at improving the outcomes of those with mental illness involved in the Criminal Justice System. The Department’s application for $365,707.83 was approved. The NYS Office of Mental Health is currently undergoing execution of direct contracts with the three agencies identified in this application. See below for agency details and positions awarded by this application.
Agency #1 – Helio Health, Inc.
- Full-time CASAC: will be housed within the Forensic Mental Health Unit at Oneida County Jail (OCJ). The Counselor will provide increased support to individuals who have entered the criminal justice system as a result of unaddressed/untreated mental illness. The overarching goal is to expand capacity in the number of individuals served that are currently incarcerated with a Serious Mental Illness (SMI) and enhance treatment planning/education/groups/therapy/etc.
- Part-time Peer Specialist: This peer would utilize their time at both Insights of Helio and at Oneida County Jail. There is currently no Peer Specialist at Oneida County Jail and the hope is to bridge the gap between individuals incarcerated and when they re-enter the community.
Agency #2 – Upstate Cerebral Palsy, Inc.
- Full-time Community Clinician: This individual will be, at minimum, a Licensed Master Social Worker, Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, or other clinical licensed individual from the NYS Office of Education. This individual would be providing individual therapy, creating treatment plans, exercising outreach, engagement, and coordination of psychosocial rehabilitative services. This individual would be working collaboratively with the criminal justice system to support successful re-entry to and stabilization within the community.
Agency #3 – The Neighborhood Center, Inc.
- Full-time Crisis Counselor: Will specifically be working with those in the criminal justice system, or those at risk of criminal justice involvement. Through the CRT partnerships, it is evident that there is a need for a Crisis Counselor specifically involved with the re-entry system to assist individuals re-integrating into the community/at risk/etc.
- Full-time Community Mental Health Nurse: Within Oneida County, a Registered Nurse (RN) will accompany Crisis Counselors on community mental health assessments to assist with needs related to medical triage, substance use concerns and to administer an immediate dose of medication in an effort to divert clients from the Emergency Department. In the least restrictive setting, a Crisis Counselor and RN will determine that an immediate dose of medication could benefit the client without transport to the Emergency Department. The Team's Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner will be consulted and provide the order for the RN to administer the medication to the client on-site. The client will be followed by MCAT for a specified time period and re-engaged in a mental and behavioral health assessment and linkage to services. The RN will provide triage for immediate concerns related to behavioral and medical health and substance use. The hope is that the recipients of these programs would be diverted from the Emergency Departments and not require inappropriate inpatient admissions.