Forensic Peer Initiatives Survey Deadline Extended to January 8

Deadline Extended on Forensic Peer Initiatives Survey!

The College for Behavioral Health Leadership Peer Leaders Interest Group, The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion, and the National Mental Health Consumers’ Self-Help Clearinghouse have extended the deadline for our joint survey of forensic peer initiatives to Jan. 8, 2016!

We need to hear from you if you work for a peer-run organization that has programs and/or services assisting people with behavioral health conditions and criminal justice histories. Using a survey format for input, we are planning a publication to share this information to learn from one another and to be a source of technical assistance.

We have received 90 responses so far, but want to be sure you are included! 

The survey is a bit lengthy in order to capture all of the important information. If you want to see the questions before you start, they can be found if you click here. If you're ready to start, select this link to begin. Feel free to share this survey with your network for others to participate.

Questions? Contact Susan Rogers at or 267-507-3812

Thanks for your help!

Jan 21 Webinar to Encourage More Ticket to Work Providers

NYAPRS Note: The following comes from NYAPRS’ Len Statham.

NYESS Administrative Employment Network Presents:


Effectively Utilizing the 

Ticket to Work Program

January 21, 2016    |    10:00AM


The NYESS Administrative Employment Network is holding a webinar on effectively utilizing the Ticket to Work program within organizations to improve and enhance supports to individuals with disabilities.  The webinar will be held on January 21st at 10:00 a.m. Overall, 89 providers received payments last quarter, from a total payment of over $1.2 million.  Tune into this webinar to discover how you can become one of those providers receiving these payments, and/or increase the amount of revenue you are generating from the TTW initiative. 


There is no need to register, you will just simply log in here:


Join WebEx meeting

Meeting number:            642 530 899        

Meeting password:         BUTMckp6         


Join by phone  
Local: 1-518-549-0500  
Toll Free: 1-844-633-8697  
Alternate Toll Free - (For callers not able to call the 844 Toll Free Number): 1-866-776-3553

NYT: The Promise of First Episode, Early Intervention Mental Health Services

NYAPRS Note: A recently released government-funded study found that early intervention modalities that address first-episode psychosis have had notable success. These paradigms are client-directed, include supportive therapeutic services, school and work assistance, and medication management. According to the study, engagement in these programs is significantly higher than traditional treatment.

In NYS, programs like OnTrackNY, for example, began in 2013 and now have about 10 locations across the state. At last count, 80% of the people who enrolled in OnTrackNY 18 months ago have remained in the program. Most of them were still in school or working. These are very promising numbers.

As you’ll see below, the New York Times did a great job telling Frank’s inspiring story. We wish, however, that in the future the Times would use more appropriate person-first language. We may HAVE diagnoses, but we ARE NOT our diagnoses.



Programs Expand Schizophrenic Patients’ Role in Their Own Care

Benedict Carey New York Times Dec. 28, 2015


SAN FRANCISCO — The idea was to go out in an emotional swan dive, a lunge for the afterlife that would stretch his 17­year­old imagination. He settled on a plan and shared the details with a Facebook friend: He would drop DMT, a powerful psychedelic, and then cut his throat.


“Everyone was telling me what I could and couldn’t do — doctors, my parents,” said Frank, now a 19­year­old college student. “I was going to hurt myself, to show people, ‘Look, I am still in control of my life.’”


And so, in time, he was. Frank, who eight months earlier had received a diagnosis of psychosis, the signature symptom of schizophrenia, and had been in and out of the hospital, gradually learned to take charge of his own recovery, in a new approach to treatment for people experiencing a first psychotic “break” with reality.


At a time when lawmakers in Washington are debating large­scale reforms to the mental health care system, analysts are carefully watching a handful of new first­break programs like the one that treated Frank in New

York as a way to potentially ease the cycle of hospitalization and lifetime disability that afflict so many mentally ill people.


More than two million people in the United States have received a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Most are consigned to whatever treatment is available amid a hodgepodge of programs that often focus on antipsychotic

drugs to blunt delusions and paranoia — medicines that can come with side effects so debilitating that many patients go off them and end up in a loop of hospitalization and despair.


But over the past several years, a number of states have set up programs with a different approach, emphasizing supportive services, like sustained one-on­one therapy, school and work assistance, and family education, as well as medication. The therapists work to engage each patient as an equal partner in decisions — including about medication dosage, to make it as tolerable as possible.


In a landmark study published this fall, government­backed researchers reported that after two years, people who had this combined package were doing better on a variety of measures than those who received treatment as usual. The difference was modest but notable. And, significantly, the participants continued to receive care for six months longer on average.


Frank, who asked that his last name not be used to protect his privacy, came to trust his therapist in the program enough that he told her of his suicide plan — and she foiled it, with help from his mother.


He quit talking to people the summer before his junior year in high school, and that decision drove the once social young man — a skateboarder and an accomplished student — so deeply into his own head that he seemed beyond reach.


“I was hearing voices, and every conversation I had, the voices were asking, ‘What is this person thinking?’ They think I’m a loser. They’re making fun of me,” Frank said recently over pizza near his apartment in the San

Francisco Bay Area. Dressed in a light jacket and khakis, he was watchful, lowkey and engaged, as if discussing something with a professor after class. “The real voices would merge with the ones in my head, and there was just too much noise. I had to shut it down.”


A Downward Spiral

He told no one what was happening. Not his parents, not his friends. He simply retreated; in his spare time, he would hole up in his bedroom in his family’s colonial­style house outside New York City, the shades down, the door locked, the covers pulled over his head, his face lost in the dead blue glow of a laptop.


“I thought at first he was just being an obstinate teenager,” his father said.


His best friend, Perry, said he got Frank out of the house one morning, and the two went to a local bagel place. “He just told me: ‘Hey man, it’s over, I don’t want to see you anymore,’” said Perry, who asked that his last name not be used, to protect Frank. “He was so calm when he said it, it freaked me out.”


Frank’s parents had sent their son to specialists before and received diagnoses of depression and attention deficit disorder. But this was something much more ominous, his mother said in an interview recently in the sunroom of their home. The walls in the formal living room were a gallery of proud family memories. She and Frank’s father asked that the family’s identity be protected so their son would have a chance at a normal life in a country where psychosis is often stigmatized. But they spoke in detail about Frank’s experience to give other families hope.


Once a model student at his suburban high school, Frank suddenly began smoking marijuana daily, skipping most of his classes and pacing the school’s hallways in a trance. His mother read notes in the margins of one of his notebooks — rambling, self­attacking — and found them so disturbing that she called 911.


The police showed up and escorted Frank to a hospital. After being on heavy medication for several weeks, he came home.


In the months that followed, he landed in the hospital yet again. But he also, finally, received a diagnosis that made sense to his parents: psychosis, the signature hallucinations and delusions of schizophrenia.


“We were going through this revolving door,” his mother said. “He’d have a crisis, then land in the hospital, then come home and go off his medication and end up right back in the hospital.” She and her husband contacted every major medical center in the New York City area, looking for treatment programs, but those available had such strict criteria — for instance, bipolar disorder with psychotic features and substance abuse — that their son didn’t qualify for any of them.


Finally, one doctor suggested a new program called OnTrackNY, developed specifically for people who had had their first psychotic break within the past two years.


It was fall 2013, about a year after Frank’s symptoms were identified as psychosis. This time, he qualified; he was one of the first clients accepted.


On that first day, he and his mother sat across from a therapist, and she explained his situation. Frank stared into space. Then the therapist, Tia Dole, program director of the OnTrackNY site at the Mental Health Association of Westchester, did something unexpected. “I asked his mom to leave the room,” Dr. Dole said.


Exiled to the waiting room, Frank’s mother half­expected him to storm

out, or the therapist to give up. Neither happened. A few weekly sessions later,

she heard something absent for years.


“Laughing,” she said. “He wouldn’t say a word to me in the car, at home, even passing in the hallway. And now he’s in there laughing?”


The philosophy behind OnTrackNY and similar programs is rooted in two principles. One is that people are most likely to benefit when supportive services are available as a complete package: namely, a lasting relationship

with a therapist; family counseling; school and work assistance; group therapy; and medication management, as in a system for adjusting doses so they are tolerable.


Most treatment centers offer some but not all of these elements, based in part on what is covered by insurance. Work and school support are usually not covered, for instance.


The second principle is the one that appealed so strongly to Frank: that people are more likely to agree to and continue treatment if they help determine its direction.


This idea is hardly new; therapists were engaging psychotic patients as collaborators a century ago, and many clinicians still do. But over the years, collaboration has taken a back seat to compliance in a system focused mainly on keeping people stabilized on antipsychotic drugs.


“The first psychiatrist I saw, he was leading the conversation, telling me what to do,” said Belle, 22, a student who has stabilized in a similar program in Oregon called EASA, or Early Assessment and Support Alliance. She asked that her last name not be used, to protect her privacy.


By contrast, she said, EASA therapists asked her what her goals were and what she wanted to do: “I felt like I was in control.”


Dr. Lisa Dixon of the New York State Psychiatric Institute, who directs OnTrackNY, puts it this way: “We wanted to reinvent treatment so that it was something people actually want.”


An Expanding Concept

At least five states have such coordinated­services programs established and the programs are expanding quickly. EASA began with five centers and in 2007 opened centers in counties throughout the state. The New York program began in 2013, with four locations around New York City, and has since added a half­dozen more statewide. The programs rely on a combination of state funds and insurance reimbursement, and 32 states have begun using block grants set aside by Congress in 2014 to fund such programs.


How much difference those programs will make is not clear. For example, the government­backed study released this fall found that the new approach had not reduced hospitalizations, a big driver of expenses.


But at last count, about 80 percent of the people who enrolled in OnTrackNY 18 months ago have remained in the program. Most of them were still in school or working, according to Dr. Dixon, who is also a professor of

psychiatry at Columbia. About 60 percent of those who received care through EASA, the longer­running Oregon program, are working or in school, according to Tamara Sale, the program’s director of care.


Those are viewed as very good numbers; studies suggest that young people in the first stages of treatment drop out at high rates, from 30 percent to more than 50 percent in the first year.


The reasons for the improvement, some experts say, probably include increased family participation, more collaboration in medication decisions, and the fact that, unlike their counterparts in many community clinics, the new programs’ staffers track down people who miss appointments.


The reason he opened up to Dr. Dole, Frank said, was that “at the end of the day, she let me have my delusions,” he said.


“For instance, I told her once how every time I went outside, I was sure people were taking video of me on their phones and posting it online.”


“She would listen and listen, and let me finish and then say, ‘How sure are you that’s true?’”


Not so sure, he would say.


In this way, Dr. Dole simultaneously took the delusions seriously and helped Frank identify them as unreliable. “I don’t even call them delusions,” she said. “I call them beliefs.”


OnTrackNY also advised Frank’s parents on how to manage their son when he was in the grip of a delusion at home. “She told us to focus on the emotion he was experiencing and not so much on what he was saying, his

accusations, whatever it was,” Frank’s mother said. “So, for instance, we’d say, ‘I can see you’re angry, how can I help you?’”


Like many people with psychosis, Frank strongly resisted taking antipsychotic medication. He had gained 20 pounds on one of the drugs, and another had made it hard for him to form thoughts. Both are common side

effects of such medications.


It was during one unmedicated period that Frank developed his elaborate suicide plan. He was serious enough to promise an equally troubled Facebook friend that he was on the brink of acting. But he also informed Dr. Dole, almost casually, as he recalls it — and, this time, she was the one who had him hospitalized.


“I never would have said anything if I didn’t trust her, so yeah, I felt betrayed when she had me taken away,” Frank said. “But I am still here, thanks to her.”


Dr. Dole used that art of persistent suggestion to persuade Frank to try medication again, reminding him that the two of them, with the help of the program’s psychiatrist, would work out what dosage — and which drug — was best.


If he did not like a medication, she told him, he could quit. If he preferred very low doses — enough to ease the voices but not quiet them, for instance — he could do that, too.


Many people quit the drugs, not only because of the side effects but because they do not think the medicine is making much difference. These new programs address this doubt by having the patient and at least one family

member keep a careful diary of behavior change as a dosage is gradually reduced. The diaries provide a clear record from multiple points of view.


Frank also met with a social worker at the program, Jim Coyle, who helped arrange for him to continue his studies at home while trying to cope with the psychosis.


In spring 2014, about six months into the program and back home from the hospital, Frank began speaking to his parents again. He and his father talked about the saxophonist John Coltrane and played albums together. He

hung out with his mother in the kitchen, helping her cook. And then, one night, as his parents were going to sleep, Frank came in and sat on their bed.


He had a plan, he said. He wanted to go to college. In California.


“My husband and I turned to each other and said, ‘We can’t even get him out of his room, how are we going to get him to California?” his mother recalled.


“After everything that happened,” Frank said, “I didn’t think they’d take it seriously.”


On His Own a Coast Away

But they did. He is in his second year now at college in the Bay Area, taking a light load of three classes and conducting his own course, of sorts, in self­treatment. He regularly visits a clinic here, where he receives medication — an antidepressant, as well as an antipsychotic drug. From a low­dosage beginning, he has decided he needs more. Until recently, he also attended group therapy.  


“I know what I need now,” he said over lunch on a recent Friday.


That first year away, he said, he was off medication and began to have a creeping feeling that the housing complex where he lived was the center of a prostitution ring run by the Yakuza, a Japanese crime syndicate. “The Yakuza,” he said, shaking his head. “That’s when I knew I better go back on the medication.”


He’s in regular touch with his parents, he said, and has reconnected with his friend Perry back in New York, and plans to become a psychologist to help others like himself. He has also made some new friends at college. They

occasionally ask him where he has been after a psychiatric appointment.


He does not feel the need to tell them. “I don’t think of myself as somebody who is mentally ill, you know?” he said. “I think of myself as a regular person.”

HCBS Implementation Delayed for Rest of State to October

Good Afternoon,

The timeline for the implementation of Behavioral Health Home and Community Based Services (BH HCBS) for the HARP population in the rest of the State has been delayed from July 1, 2016 to October 1, 2016 to follow the implementation timeline for NYC which allowed a 3 month time period between the implementation of non-HCBS behavioral health services in Mainstream Plans and HARPs and the implementation of BH HCBS.


The date of the implementation of non-HCBS behavioral health services in managed care in Rest of State has not changed and is on schedule for July 1, 2016.


For more information about the timeline for the behavioral health transition to managed care, please visit the following webpage:


Thank You,

NYSDOH Health Home Program

Rosenthal: Stop Scapegoating SAMHSA, Deflecting from Cruically Needed Strategies for Reform

NYAPRS Note: As the following piece reports, the mid-December release of the congressional FY 2016 spending bill included both funding increases and level-funding of important programs and services administered by SAMHSA, including set aside to fund states’ work on early intervention for young people with first episode psychosis, criminal justice-related programs, Mental Health First Aid and the Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration Program.

It’s gratifying that funding to SAMHSA was increased despite unrelenting attacks Rep. Tim] Murphy and groups like the Treatment Advocacy Center in blaming problems within mental health systems on SAMHSA.

It’s time to stop using SAMHSA as a scapegoat and punching bag and to build on the historic advances it has helped states, localities and a broad range of mental health, addiction and healthcare treatment providers to implement in ways that have saved and supported hundreds of thousands of Americans struggling with the most serious conditions.

Some of the most repeated criticisms from the Congressman include frivolous attacks on SAMHSA funded consumer conferences ( The truth is that along with workshops promoting art and occupational therapies, that same 2013 conference program included presentations like

  • Peer Advocates and Psychiatrists Working Together for Change
  • The Role of Peers in a Mental Health/Substance Abuse Mobile Crisis Unit Intervention
  • Talking About Hope, Suicide, and Suicide Stigma to Peers and Communities
  • Developing Multicultural Peer Group Facilitators
  • Strategies for Integrating Recovery Support Services in Programs for Justice-involved Consumers
  • Voices from the African Diaspora
  • Envisioning Alternatives to Suicide
  • Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) and Primary Care Settings
  • Unique Approaches to Military Veterans’ Wellness and Reintegration
  • The Path to Peer Crisis Respite
  • Peer Support and Early Experiences of Psychosis
  • Housing-Focused Outreach
  • Veteran Specific Recovery Issues
  • New Opportunities in Supportive Housing to Promote Recovery and Community Integration
  • Aging Issues and Older Adult Consumers
  • Frontier/Rural Peer Psychiatric Emergency Response Options

This tiresome focus on SAMHSA presents a dodge from looking more closely at the benefits of the ACA in advancing quality state and local level health and behavioral healthcare and to take on the false blame the NRA has laid on people with mental illness and the mental health system for gun violence, crucial remedies that Republicans like Mr. Murphy have sadly resisted taking on.


Spending Bill Offers Good News For MH Block Grant, Early Intervention Programs

Mental Health Weekly December 21, 2015


The mental health community is elated for the most part about funding increases and level-funding of key programs and services administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), including an increase in the mental health block grant and mental health research funding, following the release December 15 of the congressional FY 2016 spending bill.


The biggest news is that the congressional budget agreement calls for an increase of $50 million for the Community Mental Health Services block grant administered by SAMHSA. The proposal calls for 10 percent of those funds to be set aside, essentially doubling the amount states will receive for prevention and early intervention programs for young people with early psychosis.


The spending bill also calls for an increase of $1.5 million for the Criminal Justice/Mental Health Collaboration grants funded through the Mentally Ill Offender Treatment and Crime Reduction Act (MIOTCRA) program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice. The program will be totally funded by $10 million in FY 2016. It provides grants to states and communities to support jail diversion, mental health courts, law enforcement training and community re-entry programs for people with mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders who are involved with the criminal justice systems

(see story, page 6).


For the third consecutive year, Congress has provided $15 million for Mental Health First Aid Training, a public awareness and education program. “Mental Health First Aid has sparked a movement that is changing America’s culture,” Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO of the National Council for Behavioral Health, said in a statement.


“The training not only teaches people to recognize signs and symptoms of mental illnesses and addictions, but it gives them the confidence to intervene, the skills to safely de-escalate a crisis situation, and the information they need to help someone care for themselves or get professional help,” said Rosenberg. Since 2008, more than 500,000 Americans — from law enforcement officers to educators to bus drivers and many more — have been trained in Mental Health First Aid, according to Rosenberg.


Rosenberg added, “But we can’t stop here. With one in four Americans experiencing a mental health or addiction disorder each year, we are committed to making this important training as common as CPR.”


The budget is proposing $50 million for the Primary and Behavioral Health Care Integration Program (PBHCI). The president in his FY 2016 budget proposal requested $26 million. “The president had proposed shifting some of the funding for PBHCI into other SAMHSA priorities.” Rebecca Farley, director of policy and advocacy for the National Council, told MHW. “We’re grateful that Congress maintained the $50 million intact.”


The National Council is pleased with the increases for both the substance abuse and mental health block grants. “We’re very excited to see the $38.2 million increase for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment block grant. It’s desperately needed in helping address the prevention, treatment and recovery needs we have in the U.S.,” Farley said.



The budget proposal calls for an increase of $85.4 million in funding for biomedical and research services at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). “This is by far the largest increase in mental health research since 2002,” Andrew Sperling, director of legislative advocacy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, told MHW. The $85 million is a portion of the $2 billion that the National Institutes of Health received overall in this proposal, said Sperling.


“We’re very pleased with the $50 million mental health block grant proposal,” said Sperling. “That’s doubling the size of the setaside for early psychosis programs. We want to make sure we take the lessons learned from the NIMH study and replicate it across the country.” The “tangible” outcomes have helped young people with education and employment efforts, said Sperling.


NIMH funded the Recovery After an Initial Schizophrenia Episode with coordinated specialty teams.


The legislation also provides $15 million for a new assisted outpatient treatment (AOT) pilot program through SAMHSA. “The AOT pilot is

promising,” noted Sperling. “It allows for communities to compete for funding and to do creative outreach and engagement.” The program is not compelling states to implement AOT programs if they don’t want to, he said.


The budget includes $1.6 billion for Housing and Urban Development. However, very little of the funding would go for new housing, added Sperling. Some funding will be provided toward the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing program, he noted.


Some encouragement

The executive director of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services (NYAPRS) said he is encouraged by the congressional agreement. “It’s gratifying that the SAMHSA budget was not severely impacted,” Harvey Rosenthal told MHW. The increase in the setaside funding for first-episode programs was long overdue, he said.


Rosenthal said he is discouraged about the negative attention leveled at SAMHSA, particularly in the mental health reform bill introduced by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.). The legislation, “Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act,” would replace SAMHSA with a new office headed by an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


“So many of the great reforms of the past 20 years were supported by SAMHSA,” said Rosenthal. “Congressman Murphy and some of his supporters have been unwilling to look at sweeping remedies contained in the state implementation of the ACA [Affordable Care Act],” he said. “SAMHSA has been under heavy attack. Murphy, the Treatment Advocacy Center, and other groups are blaming the problems on the mental health system on SAMHSA. We’re calling for an end to that. The focus on SAMHSA is a distraction and a way of not dealing with gun reform.”


Rosenthal added, “AOT is a false solution.” The funding, he said, should be put into the community for urgent care services for consumers with serious mental illness. “We never get to talk about how state Medicaid health care reform is the most sweeping and genuine way to make change. Change happens at the state level. Behavioral health is at the center of these reforms.”


Budget activities

Under the FY 2016 agreement, Project Awareness State Grants would receive $50 million, representing a $10 million increase over the president’s budget proposal, which was level to FY 2015.


In other budget activity, the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention would be funded at $2 million. The National Traumatic Stress Network would receive $46,887,000. Criminal and Juvenile Justice Programs would receive $4,269,000.


The National Council’s Farley said the organization is pleased about both the increases and the level-funding of mental health programs. “This is a very tight funding environment,” Farley said. “At every turn, Congress is trying to figure out how to cut spending. This is a real victory. We’re very thankful to Congress for recognizing the critical mental health and substance use needs that are facing the country.”

Don't Miss Next MRLC Webinar Jan 14- Alternative Interventions-Hearing Voices Network (2)

NYAPRS Note: Join our presenters as they share how the Hearing Voices Network (HVN)

started and now flourishes as a world-wide movement. HVN is an innovative

approach offering self-led support for individuals who hear voices and

have other unusual or extreme sensory perceptions, such as seeing

visions. Hearing Voices challenges the stigma around such experiences by

offering a supportive environment free from judgment or the assumption

of illness. Our presenters travel the world educating professionals on how they

can use hearing voices methods in their work with people and their

families to promote recovery and community inclusion. Then hear how this

innovative approach has been implemented in two of our NYS program

models, a PROS program at the Southern Tier Integrated Recovery Services, Family Services of Chemung County and the Sterling Community Center at the Mental Health Association in Westchester County.


The MRLC is a special Members only benefit. If

you are not a member and would like to learn more about the MRLC and

other member-only benefits, please contact Come join us. We are pleased to be able to offer our members the most up to date information on new ideas and healthcare reform. Join Us!




Thursday, January 14, 2016

10:00 am - 11:30 am


"Alternatives for Meeting Value Outcomes: The Hearing

Voices Network"



Agenda for January 14, 2016 MRLC Webinar:


Welcome, review of Day's Agenda- Edye Schwartz, NYAPRS
State Advocacy/Informational Update: Harvey Rosenthal, Executive Director, NYAPRS
Presentation: "Alternatives for Meeting Value Outcomes: The Hearing Voices Network"

Ron Coleman and Karen Taylor, Working to Recovery, Port of Ness, Isle of Lewis, Scotland, UK
Jeremy Reuling, Director, MHA of Westchester, Sterling Community Center
Kathy Brink, Assistant Director, Family Services of Chemung County, Southern Tier Integrated Recovery Services
Discussion & Questions

Presenters: Ron Coleman is a voice hearer. He spent 10 years in services mainly as an

inpatient before deciding to recover. Ron was the first national

coordinator of the UK hearing voices network and is a

respected trainer, consultant and author travelling the

world and teaching with his wife, Karen Taylor, a registered mental health nurse. For the past 16 years

Karen and Ron have worked together supporting recovery

training and practice and co-authoring the Working to

Recovery Workbook.


Jeremy Reuling has more than a decade of experience working to support

and empower people diagnosed with mental health

conditions.   An advocate of peer-informed services,

Jeremy approaches his work from a peer-professional

viewpoint.  He is the Director of MHA of Westchester

Sterling Community Center and presents regularly at conferences

and training events throughout New York State. Jeremy received

his MSW from the Hunter College School of Social Work and

is licensed as a Clinical Social Worker in New York.  

Kathy Brink has worked at Family Services of Chemung County, Inc. for

12 years and is the Assistant Director within the Southern Tier

Integrated Recovery Services program which is a New York State PROS

program resulting in positive outcomes both in

participants' decrease in symptoms as well as increased

supports that they have been able to establish with their




For more information about this event or to join NYAPRS as an organizational member, visit our website at or call our office at 518.436.0008!


NYAPRS | 518.436.0008 | fax: 518.436.0044 |



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Save February 23rd for NYAPRS 2016 Legislative Day! (2)

NYAPRS Note: Please mark your calendars for next year’s NYAPRS Albany Legislative Day on February 23rd! See our attached flyer, and look for our upcoming policy agenda!

Also, check out this inspiring video of last year’s Day HEREto get a feel for the special opportunity to influence state policy that it offers.

See you in February!



Come to Albany

February 23, 2016

for NYAPRS 19th Annual Legislative Day!


Once again, NYAPRS members will come to Albany from across the

state to advocate for this year’s priorities, which currently include


Criminal Justice


Community Services Expansion

Rights and Choice Protections

Draft Schedule for the Day

9:30 am                  Breakfast, Check-In (get your up-to-date issue paper packets)

10:00 am                Welcome; Presentations on This Year’s Legislative Priorities

11:00 am                Invited Speakers, Award Presentations

Noon                     Lunch provided by NYAPRS

1:00 pm                 Possible press conference, Capitol rally

2:00 pm                 Meet with Your Legislators

4:00 pm                 Re-group at Your Buses, Return Home


More details to follow!

Look for announcements and check back at website at

Legislative Day 2016 - Save the Date

NYS to Separate Juvenile Offenders from Adult Prisoners

NYAPRS Note: Governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed an executive order that removes juvenile offenders from adult prisons and places them in age-appropriate juvenile facilities where he believes they will have “a better chance at turning their lives around and becoming productive members of society.”

Just a day earlier, Cuomo announced that he will offer 10,000 conditional pardons to those who were convicted of (adult) crimes in their youth but have steered clear of trouble for 10 years or more.

It falls to the NYS legislature to take the next step that they didn’t take last year and to approve a measure to “Raise the Age” of adult criminal culpability to 18 years-old. NYAPRS supports the “Raise the Age” campaign, and expects to include it as part of its 2016 Legislative Day policy agenda.


N.Y. To Separate Minors From Adult Prisoners

Joseph Spector Lohud December 22, 2015


ALBANY -- New York will remove minors from adult prisons in the state and move them to a juvenile facility, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.


Cuomo signed an executive order that would transfer all female youths aged 16 and 17 and all male youths in medium-and minimum-security facilities out of the general prison population.


The Hudson Correctional Facility in Columbia County, currently a medium-security prison, will be turned into a juvenile facility, and the first group of youth will head there by August, Cuomo said. It will impact about 100 prisoners.


“By housing 16 and 17 year-olds in an age-appropriate correctional facility, we can offer them a better chance at turning their lives around and becoming productive members of society,” Cuomo said in a statement.


The effort is the second in recent days to help youth charged with crimes, and after Cuomo was unable to get the Legislature to change state law to help imprisoned youth.


Cuomo on Monday announced he will grant “conditional pardons” to about 10,000 New Yorkers who were convicted of crimes in their youth, but who have stayed out of trouble for a decade.


Cuomo and Democrats in the state Legislature this year sought to raise the age of criminal responsibility in New York, but Senate Republican opposed it. The “Raise the Age” proposal would have treated 16- and 17-year-olds charged criminally as youths, rather than adults.


New York is one of only two states that puts 16-and 17 year-olds in the adult criminal justice system, regardless of the offense.


The state will also take steps to limit recidivism among youth, such as providing additional staff to help youth in prison.


Cuomo said the order allows the commissioner of the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to also consider taking a youth from a local correctional facility into the state’s juvenile facility, if the sentence exceeds 90 days.

MHEP: Upcoming Peer Specialist Training and 2 Open Positions

NYAPRS Note: The Mental Health Empowerment Project (MHEP) is conducting a free Peer Specialist training beginning in early February, and also has two open positions. Please see below as well as the attached items for more detail.



MHEP is conducting a Peer Specialist training from February 2 – March 3, 2016  at 6 Gramatan Avenue, Suite 206  in Mt. Vernon, NY. As indicated on the attached flyer, the month-long training will be held on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 9:00AM -4:00 PM and will  cover the core curriculum of the Academy of Peer Services and more.  To pre-register for the training or for more information contact Elaine Levin at (914) 664-3444 or via email at must pre-register in order to take the training). 


MHEP is also looking to fill two full-time positions:

  • Regional Coordinator (based in Mt. Vernon, NY)
  • Peer Support Mentor (based in Mt. Vernon, NY)

Please see the attached flyers for detailed job descriptions and application instructions.