Community-Based Programs to Help Older Adults Combat Mental Health and Substance Use Issues
Program Funding Supported by the FY 2017 State Budget
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that eight mental health providers have been selected to receive $7.96 million through the Partnership Innovation for Older Adults program. The recipients will establish community programs that identify adults age 55 or older whose independence or survival in the community is in jeopardy because of a mental health, substance use, or aging-related concern.
"New Yorkers help New Yorkers in their time of crisis and this funding will help some of our most vulnerable residents get access to the services and care that they need," Governor Cuomo said. "This is one more step toward a stronger and healthier New York for all."
The program will also conduct mobile outreach to find individuals who are at-risk and are currently not connected to the service delivery system or encounter difficulties accessing the services they need. Overall, the program is expected to reach 6,000 older New Yorkers over the next five years.
Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “It’s not easy growing older and when individuals face behavioral health challenges, such as substance abuse or depression, it can make the aging process feel very isolating. We want to make sure that no one is forced to face their futures alone. There are hundreds of different services available through this program’s three involved agencies and we are determined to connect thousands of older New Yorkers to the support they need.”
New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services Commissioner Arlene González-Sánchez said, “Older adults can often be affected by a substance use disorder that is combined with a mental health condition and the challenges that can come with aging can complicate these illnesses. Working together through this collaborative effort we can better serve aging New Yorkers in need of these important services.”
Acting Director of the New York State Office for the Aging Greg Olsen said, “I applaud Governor Cuomo’s leadership in being at the forefront of bringing together physical and behavioral health along with community-based services. Older adults, unfortunately, also often suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues, and New York’s leadership in developing innovative models that serve individuals holistically will positively impact older individuals and their families.”
These providers will each receive approximately $1 million over a 5-year time period.
The awarded programs, listed by region:
New York City
Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s triple partnership includes Arms Acres and the New York City Department for the Aging. The program plans to increase access to behavioral health and aging services by employing collaborative strategies that utilize outreach and telemedicine technology to identify and engage at-risk individuals. One such strategy is a Mobile Health van staffed by a Master’s prepared clinician to provide mobile outreach and off-site services.
Central Nassau Guidance & Counseling Services’ triple partnership includes the Family & Children’s Association and the Nassau County Office for the Aging. Their program, called the Link-Age Project, will utilize care coordination to ensure the integration of needed services for an older adult population with a 40 percent black and Hispanic rate. In addition to partnership provided services, the program will also connect older adults to a range of services delivered by more than 75 collaborative agencies.
The Orange County Department of Mental Health’s triple partnership includes Catholic Charities of Orange County and the Orange County Office for the Aging. It plans to create a service delivery infrastructure that will maximize linkages to existing services by creating a geriatric team to educate providers on engagement strategies. The partnership will also help develop a telepsychiatry network in the county and plans to train an outreach team on cultural competence, suicide prevention, and screening for behavioral and primary care health needs.
Putnam Family & Community Services’ triple partnership includes the Putnam County Office for Senior Resources and the National Council on Alcoholism & Other Drug Dependencies/Putnam. The partnership will employ a licensed clinical social worker to assess, diagnose, and treat older adults; a care manager to identify and provide concrete services and address the social determinants of health; a recovery coach to identify and address substance use issues; and nursing and psychiatric time.
The Institute for Family Health’s triple partnership includes the Ulster County Office for the Aging and Step One Child & Family Guidance Center Addiction Services. The goal is to launch and sustain a mobile outreach, care navigation, and tele-health program that increases access for older adults. The older population in the region has difficulty accessing critical medical care and social services in locales that are largely mountainous, primarily rural, and characterized by several small towns and villages.
Family Services of Westchester’s triple partnership includes the Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services and the Lexington Center for Recovery. It intends to bring mobile outreach and off-site services – including tele-health interventions – to older adults in Westchester County with the goal of reducing the isolation and decline that can accompany untreated behavioral health and unaddressed aging issues.
Central New York
The Onondaga County Department of Adult & Long Term Care Services (which includes the county’s Department for the Aging) will partner with Liberty Resources and Syracuse Behavioral Health to expand services for a diverse population of older adults. Their program, called the Senior Health and Resource Partnership Project, seeks to increase the integration of aging and behavioral health services while addressing natural and manufactured barriers to service accessibility such as limited English language proficiency, cultural mores, cognitive and physical impairments, poverty, perceived shame, and isolation.
Western New York
The Niagara County Department of Mental Health’s triple partnership includes the Niagara County Office for the Aging and Northpointe Council. The program will create a strong, connected network of behavioral health and aging services providers and leverage other existing supports to meet the needs of at-risk older adults in Niagara County. The program will utilize community-based case management staff and a mobile Older Adult Clinical Specialist to ensure the ability to reach isolated individuals and those reluctant to reach out because of cultural beliefs or stigma.
For more information on all of the geriatric programs that OMH offers, and to connect with PIOA programs after they are implemented, visit here.
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