Alert: Call Albany for Mental Health Housing Increase!

NYAPRS Note: As an active member of the Bring It Home campaign, NYAPRS is urging all of our readers to press for critically needed funding increases for community housing for people with mental health conditions, as follows: NYAPRS Note: As an active member of the Bring It Home campaign, NYAPRS is urging all of our readers to press for critically needed funding increases for community housing for people with mental health conditions, as follows:

We are only two weeks from when the 2019 - 2020 State Budget will be finalized!  We must get an incremental housing rate hike this year!

As of today, Governor Cuomo has added $10 million, the Senate has added $13 million and the Assembly has added $20 million in additional funds for OMH housing  rates.  They will now negotiate. 

We want them to agree to the Assembly’s proposed $20 million!


Call the following:
Governor Andrew Cuomo: (518) 474-8390

Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins: (518) 455-2585

Assemblyman Carl Heastie: (518) 455-3791


and say the following statement to the person who answers or to the voicemail:


"Please Make Sure That the Final Budget Includes the Full $20 Million in Funding

That the Assembly Proposed for Mental Health Housing.”



Study: Mental Health Issues Increasingly Seen in Young Americans

Study: Mental Health Issues Increasingly Seen in Young Americans

-Rising psychological distress, depression, and suicidal thoughts in this group may be partly due to digital media, study suggests

by Zeena Nackerdien, CME Writer, MedPage TodayMarch 20, 2019

CME Author: Zeena Nackerdien

Study Authors: Jean M. Twenge, A. Bell Cooper, et al.


Target Audience and Goal Statement: Psychiatrists, psychologists, pediatricians, family physicians, internists

The goal was to learn if there was an overall increase in mood disorders in recent years in the U.S. or whether trends reflected a generational shift in serious psychological distress, major depression, and suicide-related outcomes.

Questions Addressed:

  • What were the trends in psychological distress, past-year major depressive episodes (MDEs), and suicide-related outcomes (suicidal ideation, plans, attempts, and deaths by suicide) from 2005 to 2017 as determined by data drawn from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)?

  • Could the hypothesis be confirmed that there would be an increase in the prevalence of psychological distress, past-year MDEs, and suicide-related outcomes in recent years, and that this increase would be driven by cohort effects?

  • Were there any discernible trends in mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes as a function of gender, race/ethnicity, and income?

Study Synopsis and Perspective:

Depression has increased in the U.S. over recent years, with the fastest rise in youth and young adults, according to health insurance data. Certain aspects of digital media, such as the introduction of smartphones and social media, have also been linked to a higher likelihood of major depressive disorder, specifically among millennials.

While studies have documented trends in mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes among adolescents since 2010, it was not clear if the recent rise in those phenomena was restricted to all age groups. More precisely, it was not clear if trends in mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes were due to age, time period, or birth cohort -- three different processes that can cause changes over time. Since earlier onset of depression predicts chronicity, recurrence, and severity of episodes throughout life, there was a need to examine mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes across all ages.

For the new study, Jean Twenge, PhD, of San Diego State University, and colleagues drew data from the NSDUH (n=611,880) – a nationally representative sample of Americans ages ≥12 years – to assess age, period, and cohort trends in mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes since the mid-2000s. The researchers analyzed data by individual years, although they sometimes referred to generations such as baby boomers (born 1946–1964), Generation X (1965–1979), millennials (1980 –1994), and iGen (1995–2012).

In total, 212,913 adolescents (ages 12-17) responded from 2005 to 2017 and 398,967 adults (≥18) responded from 2008 to 2017. These groups were similar in terms of sex (51% vs 52% female), race, and ethnicity, with over 50% of both samples being non-Hispanic white, almost 15% non-Hispanic black, and 15% Hispanic in both groups.

A slightly higher percentage of the older group had family incomes <$49,999 compared with the adolescent group (55% vs 46%). A respondent was deemed to have experienced an MDE in the past year if he or she reported five of the nine criteria for MDE in the standard nomenclature, where at least one of the criteria is a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities.

From 2005 through 2017, the rates of MDEs in the last year arced upwards for teens by 52% (from 8.7% to 13.2%). A similar trend was observed for young adults ages 18 to 25 from 2009 through 2017 (from 8.1% to 13.2%). From 2008 through 2017, there was a 71% increase in serious psychological distress in the previous 30 days (from 7.1% to 13.1%).

During the same period, the rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts or suicide-related outcomes rose by 47% (from 7% to 10.3%). The researchers did not observe significantly similar trends for older adults over the same time periods, and from 2008 to 2017 there was actually a slight decline in serious psychological distress in the last month among adults ages 65 and older.

Cohort increases in MDEs, serious psychological distress, suicidal thoughts, suicide plans, suicide attempts, and suicide-related outcomes were larger for women than men, the analysis found. The cohort increase in psychological distress was largest among Hispanic Americans and smallest among black Americans.

Finally, the researchers reported, the biggest increases in psychological distress and suicidal ideation were observed in respondents with the highest family incomes, while increases of adult major depressive disorder and suicide attempts were greater in lower-income families.

Twenge and co-authors cautioned against overinterpreting the suicide ideation result, however, as few respondents reported their thoughts about suicide or attempted suicides. However, since each later generation had increased thoughts of suicide, it appears this increase was due to the cohort as well, the researchers explained.

Study limitations, the team said, included the cross-sectional design and the fact that only single-item assessments of suicide ideation or attempts were included. In addition, suicide-related outcomes were not analyzed for adolescents, and assessment of adolescents also did not include irritability as a criterion for MDE, potentially resulting in an underestimate of the true prevalence of past-year MDEs among adolescents.

Source Reference: Journal of Abnormal Psychology, March 14, 2019; DOI: 10.1037/abn0000410

Study Highlights: Explanation of Findings

From the mid-2000s to 2017, there were increases in mood disorder indicators, suicide-related outcomes, and rates of deaths by suicide, mainly driven by increases among adolescents and adults ages 18 to 25, the study showed.

"More U.S. adolescents and young adults in the late 2010s, versus the mid-2000s, experienced serious psychological distress, major depression or suicidal thoughts, and more attempted suicide," Twenge said in a statement. "These trends are weak or non-existent among adults 26 years and over, suggesting a generational shift in mood disorders instead of an overall increase across all ages."

Mood disorder indicators were more pronounced among women, in keeping with prior evidence that showed a larger increase in depression since 2011 among adolescent girls compared with boys. Most indicators rose over the study period, with generally larger increases observed for white Americans. Moreover, with the exception of MDE and suicide attempts, increases in mood disorder indicators were largest among Americans with the highest total family income. The demographic profile of largest increases in mood disorder among higher-socioeconomic-status white women and girls was consistent with other evidence from the literature, the researchers noted.

Overall, the team said, the results consistently showed increases in mood disorder indicators and suicide-related outcomes from those born in the early 1980s to those born in the late 1990s. Individuals born in the 1990s (i.e., late millennials and early iGen) appeared to be experiencing mood order indicators and suicide-related outcomes at a higher rate than those born in the 1980s, even when the time period and age were taken into account, the researchers stated.

These trends could be explained by the introduction of smartphones in the developmental stages of more recent generations, said Twenge, who is also the author of a 2018 book about iGen: "iGen: Why Today's Super-Connected Kids are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy -- and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood."

"When you think of how lives have changed from 2010 to 2017, a clear answer is that over time, people started spending more time on phones and on social media, less time face-to-face with their friends, and less time sleeping," she told MedPage Today. "As we know from other studies, spending more time with screens, less time sleeping, and less time face-to-face with friends is not a good formula for mental health."

Twenge speculated that youth might be more susceptible to some of the effects of digital media because it was such an integral part of their development early on. She also noted that the findings by her group do contrast with other theories that the increase could be attributed to today's teens being more open about their mental health, or more willing to seek help, since the current study asked about symptoms and behaviors instead of inpatient or clinical data regarding specific disorders.

"I think it's possible the change in social lives of young people has been more pronounced in the age of the smartphone," Twenge said. "Older people may already have an established social network, and the change in how they use their social time may not be as extensive as it has been for teens and young adults."

"Getting your first smartphone at 12 is fundamentally different than getting your first smartphone at 30," she added.

However, other experts hold different views, contending that "screen time has a minimal psychological effect on adolescents." One alternative view is that "the use of social media actually helped children forge social bonds, especially when kid-safe public spaces are limited."

"These results suggest a need for more research to understand how digital communication versus face-to-face interaction influences mood disorders and suicide-related outcomes and to develop specialized interventions for younger age groups," Twenge said.

Don't Miss the Next Round of NYAPRS New Hire Orientations!

NYAPRS Note: NYAPRS is excited to provide details of another round of our new training initiative for all new staff called, Regional New Hire Orientations across New York State! NYAPRS is proud to offer CEU Credits for both Social Workers and Licensed Mental Health Counselors for this training. Do you have new staff and don’t have the time or the resources to train them in recovery, person-centered and trauma based practices?  For more information and to register your new staff, please contact your NYAPRS regional trainer.  We are looking forward to hearing from you!”


DG: Raise Cost Of Living Pay For Services Staff in NYS

NYAPRS note: With about a week to go, our human services campaign is intensifying our efforts to secure a 2.9% Cost of Living Adjustment for the nonprofit workforce and operations. Stay tuned for how you can help!

Raise Cost Of Living Pay For Services Staff 

Daily Gazette Letter to the Editor  March 22, 2019


The New York state budget expires on March 31. The Legislature and governor are now negotiating the “big” issues, including the property tax cap, recreational marijuana, election- and criminal justice reform, and more. 


As the leaders discuss spending, it is important not to lose track of the human services staffing crisis.


Over the past 18 months, our ability to attract and retain quality employees for our services has declined precipitously.


Staff turnover ranging from 35 percent to 40 percent annually has gotten materially worse.  These trends are jeopardizing the quality and extent of the services we provide the entire county and local communities.


Underfunding human services is also an equity and racial disparity issue. The nonprofit human services workforce is 81 percent female and 46 percent women of color.


Today, over 400 Northern Rivers Family Services staff work in Schenectady County, providing educational, early Head Start, family services, counseling, foster care and mental health services to over 4,000 families, children and youth. We depend on trained staff to support our clients. We can’t replace staff with technology, nor can we raise our prices.


On behalf of the human services sector and our clients, we urge the elected officials to include the statutory-required cost of living adjustment (COLA) for all human services workers in the state budget. Our children, adults and communities depend on these staff.

William Gettman Albany  The writer is CEO of Northern Rivers Family of Services.

Alternatives 2019 July 8-9 at Catholic University in DC: Submit Workshop Proposal Today

Alternatives 2019 July 8-9 at Catholic University in DC: Submit Workshop Proposal Today

The Alternatives conference is the oldest and largest conference of its kind, organized and hosted for more than three decades by peers for peers (people with lived experience of the behavioral health system, emotional distress/crisis, trauma, substance use, and/or addiction). The Alternatives conference is renowned for offering the latest and best information in the peer recovery movement, and provides an invaluable opportunity for peers to network with and learn from one another. This conference is funded entirely through registration fees and donations.


 Alternatives 2019 will include a two-day pre-conference, July 8 and 9, with advocacy training on Monday and a “Hill Day” on Tuesday, when peer advocates will meet, by appointment, with the staff of their U.S. senators and congressional representatives. Now more than ever, it is important for us to participate in the national debate.


The Alternatives 2019 will officially open with dinner and keynote presentations on Tuesday evening, July 9, followed by workshops and caucuses on Wednesday and Thursday. You may submit a workshop workshop proposals here: Submit Workshop Proposal Page


Newer college dorm rooms with single beds and private or shared bathrooms will be available for an affordable price, and three buffet-style meals a day will be provided in the dining hall. All meeting rooms are ADA-accessible; some accessible dorm rooms can be reserved.


There is a newly renovated Metro stop on campus; parking is also available. There are many hotels a few Metro stops away for those who wish to stay off campus.


The theme this year is Standing Together, Celebrating Our Gifts, Raising Our Voices. Each year we come to the Alternatives Conference, standing together as a community, bringing a variety of lived experience and ways of maintaining wellness; celebrating the skill, talent and wisdom we each contribute toward making a vibrant learning community; and learn to access the power in raising our collective voice to influence policy, programming, and support.  Together WE are Alternatives 2019!


Alternatives 2019 is a great opportunity to learn new skills and share your passion for recovery, advocacy, the arts, multicultural and diversity awareness, youth involvement, and more! Come, find and raise your voice, share your expertise, meet old friends and make new ones!



Workshops will be presented on Wednesday and Thursday. Proposals to present workshops are due March 15, 2019. More information on the Submit Workshop Proposal Page.


Follow @AltCon_2019 on Twitter; the hashtag is #Alternatives2019.

Edye Schwartz, Steve Coe to be Honored at NYAPRS' April 16th Albany Reception

NYAPRS Note: Capping decades of groundbreaking contributions and achievements, NYAPRS will be honoring and celebrating recovery champions NYAPRS’ own Edye Schwartz and Community Access’ Steve Coe as they both retire in the coming months. We’ll have a lot more to say in the coming weeks about them both but, in the meantime, mark the evening of April 16th on your calendars and be on hand for this momentous event, which will follow the first day of NYAPRS Annual Albany Executive Seminar.

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Self-Directed Care Outcomes and Examples Featured at NYAPRS Executive Seminar: Register Today

NYAPRS Note: NYAPRS Executive Seminar Self-directed care initiatives that allow people to make strategic purchases to meet their most important goals are taking off across the nation. New York’s pilot programs in New York City and the Hudson Valley are gaining national attention for their success at engaging and supporting people to move ahead in their lives in the most unique and creative ways that address their most important health, vocational and social needs. Come hear striking examples and impressive outcomes from representatives from those programs, from state officials and the nation’s lead researcher at next month’s NYAPRS Executive Seminar, to be held April 16-17 at the Albany Hilton.  Register today at!

NYAPRS is very proud to offer continuing education hours for LMHC, LMSW, LCSW, CRCC and CPRPs.

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TU: NYS Assembly Members Call on Gov Cuomo to Fund Nonprofit COLA

NYAPRS Note: NYS Assembly Mental Health Committee Chair Aileen Gunther led a group of Assembly colleagues from both sides of the aisle in a fiery call on the Cuomo Administration to fund a long promised Cost of Living Adjustment for human service nonprofits. Cheering her on was a group of advocates for community providers who serve New Yorkers with mental health, substance use conditions and developmental disabilities, including NYAPRS, MHANYS, the NYS Council, Families Together, NAMI NYS and the Association for Community Living. The advocates will be accelerating our efforts in the coming days.

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Raises for Direct Care Workers Remain Up for Debate in Budget

By David Lombardo  Albany Times Union  March 20, 2019


Assembly members on both sides of the aisle rallied in the Capitol on Wednesday morning to highlight their support for increased human services funding in the final budget deal due at the end of the month.


The members touted the chamber’s one-house budget, which reinstated a 2.9 percent cost of living adjustment for workers in the human services sector that was left out of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed budget and added a 2 percent raise for direct care workers employed in the mental health and developmental disabilities fields.


“They earned every cent of this raise, and probably a hell of a lot more,” said Assemblyman Aileen Gunther, chair of the Assembly’s Mental Hygiene Committee.


She said the governor’s proposal to leave out the COLA would exacerbate the staffing shortage in New York. “People have passion for the work, but they have to be able to survive in the world that we live in,” Gunther said.


The Assembly’s proposals would cost an additional $198.5 million, according to a press release.


The governor’s budget memo says deferring the COLA is necessary because of the $142 million in savings that would be realized. An increase was also put off in last year’s budget.


Gunther said there are “other things that aren’t as important” in the state’s $174 billion spending plan, and identified economic development incentives as an area where they could “shave” off some spending to afford raises for workers. “I could get a list if I went through the budget,” she added.


There is some speculation that Cuomo’s delay of the COLA was a negotiating ploy that would make state lawmakers “buy back” the program at the expense of other priorities. “It’s kind of like a silly game,” Gunther said.


The proposal from Senate Democrats would also start implementation of the COLA in 2020. “The Senate is also committed to continuing the agreed-upon 3.25% raises for direct care workers,” reads the chamber’s budget resolution.

May 5-7 NYS APSE Employment First Training Institute

NYAPRS Note: The NYS APSE Employment Institute is the premier event for supported employment professionals in New York State. This year's agenda focuses on what is new in Employment Supports, youth services, and employment issues across a variety of disability populations, all of which are very relevant in today’s workforce.

Professionals from the field will offer workshops and motivational talks that will greatly benefit people who work in all aspects of employment supports.  Networking with the conference attendees, funding partners and speakers will prove to be an invaluable opportunity.


Alert: Urge Assembly Speaker Heastie to Support BH Parity

NYAPRS Note: Thanks to MHANYS for passing this along. Please act today!


Support Behavioral Health Parity in the Budget—Make New York’s Law the Strongest in the Nation

for Protecting Individuals with Mental Health and Addiction Disorders in Commercial Plans


NYAPRS, MHANYS and a number of our colleagues have been very supportive of Governor Cuomo’s Executive Budget in regard to behavioral health parity. This is an issue that can be life changing for people that have commercial insurance who have been denied benefits due to their mental health or addictions disorder. New York State has stepped up and is providing the strongest parity initiatives in the country that will make it much more difficult for a person to be denied benefits by a Commercial Plan

This sweeping proposal includes: 

§  Providing support to stop denials for Non Quantitative Treatment Limits (NQTL). These are the limits that are being used to reject benefits on the grounds that they are not comparable to the medical and surgical benefits afforded by parity. In other words, benefits are being rejected because of things that are more difficult to measure like medical necessity, prior authorization, out of network policies and fail first.  Through the Governor’s initiative, this will no longer be used as a rational to reject benefits to those with mental health or addiction disorders based on NQTL. Instead of plans determining medical necessity criteria, the Office of Mental Health will review and approve criteria used to make treatment decisions. This alone can dramatically change the course of a person’s coverage in a positive way

§  Providing 21 days of inpatient treatment for substance use disorders without having prior authorization. Currently the number is 14 days  (The Senate’s Budget Proposal includes up to 28 days which we wholeheartedly support).  The longer an individual can stay in an inpatient rehab facility, the better the chance for success.

§  Hiring of staff at the Department of Financial Services (DFS) and the Department of Health (DOH) dedicated to insuring that plans are fulfilling their obligations around the parity law.  Greater enforcement will provide greater assurances that individuals are receiving the benefits they have been denied in the past.

§  14 day of adolescent inpatient psychiatric treatment without prior authorization

§  Benchmark co-pays for outpatient mental health and substance use disorder services to same as paid for in primary care visits


 The Senate has completely embraced these changes but the Assembly has not to this point. The Assembly has done a wonderful job in supporting many mental health initiatives but in regard to parity, they have decided that this is a policy issue that should be discussed post budget. We believe that there are fiscal concerns about parity that should be addressed in budget. As a family member myself, I don’t want to have to wait any longer to get benefits for my loved one.  Delay could mean denial


Action: Please call Assembly Speaker Heastie at (518) 455--3791 and tell him to support the inclusion of behavioral health parity in this year’s budget.