McSilver Awards Is Only 2 Weeks Away - Get Your Tickets Today

NYAPRS News: Join NYAPRS’ with MCTAC and CTAC and their academic partners for this year’s McSilver Awards.  The McSilver Awards recognizes outstanding individuals who are transforming systems to address the needs of individuals, families, and communities living in poverty, locally and globally. This year’s honorees are at the forefront of powerful cultural and institutional shifts. These distinguished individuals are vanguards for social justice.  The event will be held Monday, June 4, 2018, at the Rosenthal Pavilion atop NYU’s Kimmel Center.  For more information and to register

OMH Web Seminar: Rethinking Trauma Treatment

NYAPRS Note: On behalf of the Office of Mental Health


Topic: Rethinking Trauma Treatment
Date and Time:
Thursday, May 31, 2018 10:00 am, Eastern Daylight Time (New York, GMT-04:00)
Event number: 311 499 342
Event password: nysomh123
Event address for attendees:

Treatment of trauma has had varying results, often unsuccessful, leaving people frustrated and alone. This presentation will present several approaches to trauma treatment which has significantly assisted individuals in having decreased symptoms and often with complete resolution.

Presented will be trauma treatment approaches which are evidence based. Emerging best practices showing great promise in healing people from traumatic experiences, will also be presented.

The presenter will be Leila Clark, Regional Advocacy Specialist, LMSW, LPN, from the NYS Office of Mental Health. Leila can speak from personal experiences about her healing from trauma using these approaches. As a Master's of Social Work intern, treating Veterans, and as a nurse working in an in-patient Alcohol and Substance Use treatment facility Leila has supported individuals in their healing from trauma.

Audio conference information
To receive a call back, provide your phone number when you join the event, or call the number below and enter the access code.
US Toll Free: 1-844-633-8697
Local: 1-518-549-0500
Toll-free dialing restrictions:
Access code: 311 499 342

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This WebEx service includes a feature that allows audio and any documents and other materials exchanged or viewed during the session to be recorded. You should inform all meeting attendees prior to recording if you intend to record the meeting. Please note that any such recordings may be subject to discovery in the event of litigation.

PRA Seeking Project Associate: SOAR

NYAPRS Note: Employment Opportunity

Project Associate

Position Announcement – 2018

Policy Research Associates, Inc. (PRA) is seeking a full-time Project Associate to join the SAMHSA-funded SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access and Recovery (SOAR) Technical Assistance (TA) Center. SOAR is national program designed to increase access to the disability income benefit programs administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA) for eligible adults who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness and have a mental illness, medical impairment, and/or a co-occurring substance use disorder. Residence near or relocation to PRA’s Delmar, NY office is preferred. Remote locations will be considered for those with significant experience.

A leader in the behavioral health and human services field for nearly 30 years, PRA is a small business funded by federal and state agencies, national organizations, and foundations. PRA conducts research and evaluation; provides technical assistance and training; and plans and facilitates major conferences, meetings, and other knowledge-transfer activities in the behavioral health field. PRA is known for its expertise on behavioral health issues related to juvenile and criminal justice; services for children, adolescents, and their families; recovery supports; service members and veterans; homelessness and housing; and violence.

Project Associate

The Project Associate will be a PRA employee and an integral member of the SOAR TA team. S/he will report to the SOAR Project Director and will be responsible for Center duties including, but not limited to:

  • Engaging and supporting high level state and local involvement in SOAR
  • Providing on-site technical assistance to states and localities to increase access to SSI/SSDI
  • Conducting leadership training and facilitating forums to further the implementation of SOAR
  • Communicating regularly with other SOAR TA Center staff
  • Reviewing practice cases submitted through the SOAR Online Course
  • Utilizing project databases to track monthly TA provided
  • Providing general contract support within the scope of the task order, such as writing issue briefs, blogs, and contributing to the newsletter


  • Bachelor’s degree in related field, Master’s degree preferred
  • Experience with Social Security disability (SSI/SSDI), preferably with completion of the SOAR Online Course
  • Experience working with individuals experiencing or at-risk of homelessness
  • Previous project coordination/management experience is desired, with experience overseeing multiple tasks/priorities
  • Experience w/technical writing, meeting planning/facilitation, media/technology, training, and TA desired
  • Strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and ability to work within timelines
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills required
  • Highly organized, detail-oriented, and able to accomplish multiple tasks in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to handle workload that includes frequent out-of-state travel

Salary level of position is commensurate with candidate experience. Position is a full-time, immediate opening with competitive salary and excellent benefits package, including medical, dental and vision care, 401k and employer-contributed retirement, student loan assistance, tuition reimbursement, wellness programs and casual work attire. We are proud to be an Equal Opportunity Employer, a recipient of the Times Union “Top Workplace” award, and an American Heart Association designated “Fit-Friendly Workplace.”

If interested please send cover letter (indicating position title) and resume to Policy Research Associates, Inc., 345 Delaware Avenue, Delmar, NY 12054, email to or fax to (518) 439-7612 and complete a brief PRA Candidate Survey.

FREE Webinar: Reconnecting with the Earth for Personal and Global Healing

NYAPRS Note: The National Coalition and the International Association of Peer Supporters invite you to join them for the first in a series of webinars where they explore the relationship between ecology, or how we relate to one another and the earth, and healing from crisis. They have gathered experts from around the globe, including indigenous peoples, to speak to this topic, share best practices, and propose some solutions to the very complex problems we face. Register today and spread the word!

Free, Interactive Recovery LIVE: Advancing Professional Development for Peer Workers in Diverse Settings

NYAPRS News: Join Ricardo Bowden, Peer 360 Recovery Alliance; Cheryl Gagne, Center for Social Innovation; Dan O'Brien-Mazza, US Department of Veterans Affairs; and Steven Samra, BRSS TACS Deputy Director, as moderator, for a Virtual Learning Session on applying core competencies in peer support services and advancing professional development for peer workers in diverse settings. Link to registration

SAMHSA_WellnessProgram Logo_.png

A Message From The Field

Using Core Competencies to Support Peer Workers and Improve Service Delivery


Join a free, interactive Recovery LIVE! virtual event on Thursday, May 24 from 2–3 pm ET. 

SAMHSA’s Bringing Recovery Supports to Scale Technical Assistance Center Strategy (BRSS TACS) invites you to a conversation with national leaders about applying core competencies in peer support services and advancing professional development for peer workers in diverse settings. 

Presenters include Ricardo Bowden, Peer 360 Recovery Alliance; Cheryl Gagne, Center for Social Innovation; Dan O'Brien-Mazza, US Department of Veterans Affairs; and Steven Samra, BRSS TACS Deputy Director (moderator). Bring your questions—register today!

Register Today

LG: Advocates Demand Action on NYS Solitary Confinement Policy

NYAPRS Note: “The cell walls start wavering... everything in the cell starts moving; you feel that you are losing your vision”. “I overhear guards talking. Did they say that? Yes? No? It gets confusing. Am I losing my mind?” “you get sensitive to noise. The plumbing system... the water rushes through the pipes- it’s too loud, gets on your nerves. I can’t stand it.” “I can’t stand the smells of the food”. These are some of the horrific impacts of the use of solitary confinement, as collected by famed Harvard Professor Stuart Grassian in 1983. He shared findings that show that thousands who didn’t have psychiatric symptoms before they were placed in solitary confinement left with full blown conditions.

But thousands of people who are confined to terribly euphemistic ‘special housing units’ or SHUs came into prison or jail with serious mental health conditions and the results, causing untold suffering and sometimes suicide.  

That’s why NYAPRS members and staff joined with a broad array of prisoners’ rights and mental health advocacy groups to win passage of the SHU Exclusion Law in 2008.

But, while the law generated numerous improvements, almost 900 people with mental health conditions live in solitary confinements in NY right now.  

And that’s why we have been working closely with our colleagues from the Campaign for Alternatives to Solitary Confinement ( and other groups to see HALT legislation approved in New York that would prohibit the segregation of young and elderly people, people with physical or mental disabilities, pregnant women, new mothers, LGBTQI individuals, place a limit of 15 consecutive days and a limit of 20 total days in a 60 day period on the amount of time any person can spend in segregated confinement and create new Residential Rehabilitation Units as a more humane and effective alternative to provide segregated confinement and one that provides meaningful human contact and therapeutic, trauma-informed, and rehabilitative programs.

Yesterday, advocates including NYAPRS’ Elena Kravitz joined around a SHU replica in the state’s Legislative Office Building to call on legislative leaders and the Governor to pass and sign HALT legislation, (A.3080B/S.4784A) sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry and Senator Kevin Parker (see video at

NYAPRS will continue to work tirelessly until HALT legislation is approved and until a more humane New York provides treatment not torture to our neighbors and loved ones in need. Please join us and look for upcoming alerts and actions.

Legislators Join Prisoners, Families Hoping To Limit Solitary Confinement

By David Tregaskis, Legislative Gazette May 16, 2018

Lawmakers, survivors of solitary confinements and family members of prisoners are pushing for the enactment of the Human Alternative to Long-Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act to put an end to solitary confinement “torture.”

The HALT legislation, (A.3080B/S.4784A) sponsored by Assemblyman Jeffrion Aubry, D-Corona, and Senator Kevin Parker, D-Brooklyn, would limit the time an inmate can spend in segregated confinement.

The purpose of the bill is to, among other things, create more humane and effective alternatives to confinement and restrict the required criteria which can lead to solitary.

Assemblyman Aubry, the former Assembly Corrections chair, said that to make communities and prisons safer, the process of torturing people under the guidelines of punishment needs to end.

“Torture is not what we’re supposed to be about. We may want people to change their behavior, we may need to put people away from the rest of society in order to effect that change, but we do not need to torture them,” Aubry said. “We do not need to feed them the loaf, we do not need to put them in places where they fight for their sanity and that’s what the whole bill will do.”

The bill would also set provisions, like imposing a 15 consecutive day limit to solitary confinement or 20 days total in a 60 day time period, and prohibit the use of special diets as punishment.

Victor Pate, organizer for the New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement and a former inmate who endured solitary confinement, notes that Colorado has implement a 15 day limit to solitary in its prisons and reduced the number of prisoners in solitary from 1,500 to 18.

“According to the U.N. General Assembly, the Mandela Rule states that no one shall be held in any long term solitary confinement past 15 days, and if that does happen, it is considered torture,” Pate said.

The replica solitary confinement cell was unveiled in the entrance Legislative Office Building on Wednesday at a press event with lawmakers, former prisoners, their families and other supporters. The were hoping passers-by, other lawmakers, and maybe even the governor would spend some time inside the cell to experience solitary confinement, even temporarily.

Jerome Wright, a former inmate who experienced solitary confinement, said he is challenging the governor and the commissioner of the Department of Corrections to spend 24 hours in the cell to see what solitary feels like.

Doug van Zandt, who built the replica cell, talked about his own son Benjamin who was charged with grand larceny and reckless endangerment and imprisoned. Benjamin, who was mentally ill, was placed in solitary confinement without treatment and committed suicide.

“The punitive measures used against him in prison, including solitary confinement were absolutely wrong, it was a cell just like this, that he spent the last minutes of his life,” van Zandt said. “He hanged himself after he was taken off his medications by the prison staff and he was left to rot in a cell like this.”  

Advocates Call For 15-Day Maximum In Solitary Confinement

by J.T. Fetch  CBS6 May 16th 2018

ALBANY, NY - There is a group calling for Governor Cuomo to go to prison... Not for any crime he committed, but to see just what those who are put in solitary confinement have to go through.

The lobby of the Legislative Office Building turned into a one cell prison today, to call for the passage of the Humane Alternatives to Long Term (HALT) Solitary Confinement Act.

Supporters of the bill say this will reform the current system, where thousands remain in solitary in New York’s prisons 22 to even 24 hours a day with no real human contact.

Reform advocates say this leads to profound psychological and physical damage. they want a 15-day limit on solitary, and create humane alternatives.

They also want Governor Cuomo to spend 24 hours in solitary in one of the state’s prisons, so he can see for himself what it’s like.

“I was put in solitary confinement for 28 days - you have very little property in your cell, you don’t know what time it is. Anytime you leave the cell, you’re in handcuffs,” said Jeffrey Deskovic, who says he was wrongfully imprisoned for 16 years.

Supporters say they have data that shows more than 30% of all prison suicides in New York take place in solitary. Reforms have taken place already in Colorado, where there is a 15 day limit for solitary confinement.

URGENT: Call Albany Today HALT Solitary Confinement

NYAPRS Alert: Help us stop the suffering thousands of New Yorkers endure each day. HALT Solitary Confinement for Vulnerable Groups in our State Prisons!               


HALT Solitary Confinement for Vulnerable Groups in our State Prisons!


Call Albany This Wednesday May 16!

  • Thousands of people remain in solitary confinement in NY prisons and jails each day: 22 to 24 hours a day in a cell without any meaningful human contact or programs, for months, years, and decades (30+ years) in NY.
  • Sensory deprivation, lack of normal interaction, and extreme idleness of solitary can lead to intense suffering and severe psychological and physical damage. More than 30% of all prison suicides in New York take place in solitary.
  • These individuals are disproportionately Black and Latino people, young people, gender non-conforming people, and people with mental illness.
  • The entire United Nations, including the US, passed rules prohibiting solitary beyond 15 days for any person, because it otherwise would amount to torture. States that have reduced the use of solitary have seen a positive impact on safety.
  • The HALT Solitary Confinement Act (A.3080B / S.4784A) would include a 15-day limit on solitary, and create more humane and effective alternatives.

Help Us Advance Treatment Not Torture!

Make 5 Calls this Wednesday!

  1. Senate Leader John Flanagan at 518-455-2071
  2. Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie at 518-455-3791
  3. Assembly Correction Committee Chair David Weprin at 518-455-5806
  4. Senate Crime Victims, Crime and Correction Committee Chair Patrick Gallivan at 518-455-3471

and leave the following message:

“I’m a registered voter from (one’s locality) calling to urge you to support
HALT Solitary Confinement Act A.3080B / S.4784A)

#HALTsolitary confinement in New York

New York Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement

NYAPRS Posts 2018 Executive Seminar Presentations & Photos

NYAPRS Note: Thanks to our timely expert presenters and over 230 engaged and active attendees, this year’s NYAPRS Executive Seminar offered a much lauded examination of emerging strategies and partnerships that are working to address the multiple needs of New Yorkers who face the daily challenges of poverty, homelessness, social isolation, racism, avoidable repeat readmissions and incarcerations and advanced medical and behavioral health conditions and advanced medical and behavioral health conditions.

The program featured key national figures including the top behavioral health official in the land, new HHS Assistant Secretary Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, followed by some the nation’s leading consumer, family, rights, provider and community psychiatry advocates.

Below please find some of the presentations and selected photos of the event. We’ll be posting more at

NYAPRS Executive Seminar 2018.jpg

Donna ColonnaCEO, Services for the Underserved
Jeffrey McQueenDirector, MHA of Nassau County
Robert MyersSenior Deputy Commissioner & Division Director, Adult Services, State Hospitals and Manage Care, NYS OMH
Donna Lynn TaylorClinical Director, Personal Wellness Plan, (HARP), Healthfirst
Kate DavidsonAssistant Vice President for Policy & Advocacy, National  Council for Behavioral Health
Moderator: Jackie NegriPrincipal and Consultant, Negri Management Resources, LLC

Amy ColesanteExecutive Director, MHEP
Peggy ElmerDirector, Health Home Policy and Program Development, New York State Department of Health
Ellen HealionCEO Hands Across Long Island
Carlton WhitmoreDirector, New York City Department of Health & Mental Hygiene's Office of Consumer Affairs
Joseph WoodwardCEO, Housing Options Made Easy
Moderator: Harvey RosenthalExecutive Director, NYAPRS

Peggy ChanDirector, DSRIP, NYS Department of Health
Terri CoyleDirector Outpatient Behavioral Health, St. John's Episcopal Hospital
Tyrone GarrettPeer Wellness Coach, NYAPRS
John JavisDirector of Behavioral Health, Nassau-Queens PPS
Steve MiccioCEO, PEOPLe, Inc.
Sharon MillerDirector of Social Work, Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital
Moderator: Harvey RosenthalExecutive Director, NYAPRS

Elizabeth MisaDeputy Medicaid Director, NYS Department of Health
Nicole HaggertyDirector, Bureau of Rehabilitation Services and Care Coordination, NYS OMH
Charles KingCEO, Housing Works, Inc.
Chris CopelandCOO, Institute for Community Living
Moderator: Kate BreslinPresident and CEO, Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy

Chacku MathaiPresident and CEO, MHA of Rochester
Nancy Sung SheltonSenior Consultant for Cultural Competency and Health Literacy Team, Coordinated Care Services, Inc.
Brian SmedleyCo-Founder and Executive Director, National Collaborative for Health Equity
Facilitator: Lenora Reid-RoseDirector, Cultural Competency & Diversity Initiatives, Coordinated Care Services, Inc.