May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Each May, OPWDD joins the NYS Office of Mental Health in promoting Mental Health Awareness Month. The OMH website offers resources like a Mental Health Program Directory and Crisis Support Information that can benefit people in need of immediate assistance.  OPWDD works to incorporate mental health and wellness into how our service system supports people with developmental disabilities. Ensuring holistic planning and support is critical to living one’s richest life and a fundamental thread throughout OPWDD’s 2023-2027 Strategic Plan. Below are a few of the initiatives we have underway that will help us strengthen our support for mental health:

Expansion of CSIDD

OPWDD is expanding Crisis Services for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities (CSIDD) to ensure these services and resource centers are available in every region of the state. 

Mobile Crisis Support Pilot

OPWDD is partnering with the New York State Conference of Local Mental Hygiene Directors to support pilot projects at the county level to address gaps in crisis response and children’s services. The project will test ways to connect county-based mobile crisis services and police crisis intervention teams with real time support and expertise to better triage and manage crisis cases involving people with developmental disabilities. It will also improve connection between county mobile response teams and OPWDD and other children’s services and promote training related to supporting children with developmental disabilities with appropriate services.

HBCI Team Expansion

In April, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the availability of more than $13 million in state funding to expand access to Home-Based Crisis Intervention teams throughout New York State. Administered by the state Office of Mental Health, this funding will help create 13 new teams and expand 26 existing ones, enabling them to provide critical mental health services so that at-risk children and youth can avoid psychiatric hospitalization. OPWDD will work with OMH and the Developmental Disabilities Planning Council to establish two teams that will exclusively serve children or youth dually diagnosed with both a developmental disability and mental illness.

Mental Health Month Toolkit Now Available

Health America is providing a Mental Health Month Outreach Toolkit to help everyone raise mental health awareness during the month of May. Please consider helping to spread the word of how vitally important good mental health is to all of us.

Submitted by Brewster, NY

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