Behavioral Health Team Update
By Andrea J. Wanat, MA, CPP, Director of Behavioral Health
GOLISANO CENTER LAUNCH; COMMUNITY PARTNERS OF WNY COLLABORATION,
MENTAL HEALTH ASSOCIATION OF ERIE COUNTY LEADERSHIP
ADVANCING SYSTEM TRANSFORMATION GOALS
Over the past quarter, Millennium’s Behavioral Health Team has been focusing on achieving its required “Milestones” with the overall goal of achieving system transformation. In order to succeed, we have strategically aligned ourselves with a variety of partner agencies across the eight county region. Key work we have most recently been focusing on with our partners includes the following highlights:
Behavioral Health Integration Update:
In Niagara Falls, NY, the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center recently opened the Golisano Center which provides comprehensive integrated health care services to adults with special needs and their families, in addition to housing a range of services and programs for the community. Among those services are primary care, mental health, Health Home care management, housing assistance, community outreach, satellite services, social services, health insurance enrollment, financial assistance counseling, wellness education and the training of healthcare professionals. This is a great achievement for the region and for the Behavioral Health Integration project in particular since such comprehensive services are available for patients who may traditionally seek Emergency Care in the off-hours.
Community Crisis Stabilization Update:
In order to achieve system wide transformation regarding mental health community crisis, Millennium has recently been working on the development of a centralized triage tool that our partners can agree upon to utilize in the field. Utilizing best practices, a draft tool was developed with a subcommittee and then reviewed by over 25 partner agencies. Initial meetings took place during our hotline, mobile outreach and respite meetings and have proven to be successful. A second draft of the tool is currently in circulation and training plans are being brainstormed.
Mental and Emotional Behavioral Well-Being:
Millennium continues to collaborate with Community Partners of WNY to ensure the expanded delivery of evidence-based programs and practices throughout our region. In the past quarter, partner agreements were finalized with over 15 organizations representing all eight of our WNY counties to expand programs that reduce substance abuse and/or promote positive mental health.
The Mental Health Association of Erie County is taking the lead with mental health promotion activities in the community and has begun implementing Mental Health First Aid trainings in the community. Millennium has also partnered with the Erie County Council for the Prevention of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (ECCPASA) and The WNY Chemical Dependency Consortium to coordinate substance abuse prevention activities. The group convenes monthly to address best practices, policy issues, and community norms to enhance the effective delivery of services to our community. In addition, a team of independent contractors have been working with our partner agencies on the development and strategic launch of a public awareness campaign that aims to change the pervasive negativity towards those with mental health and/or substance abuse issues.