By Eden Laikin
Nassau County’s Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health, Chemical Dependency and Developmental Disabilities Services will receive an additional $1.1million in state funding to enrich its Mental Health Care system.
The funds will be used to increase access to community-based services that will help people with mental illness achieve recovery, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced last week.
Currently, the county’s Office of Mental Health contracts with three community agencies that each staff Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams that bring services to individuals with serious mental illness. The ACT teams promote the client’s ability to live successfully in the community and to avoid unnecessary repeated and costly visits to hospitals. Each team has a psychiatrist, nurse, social worker and other mental health professionals, to provide intensive clinical and rehabilitative services. Each team has a caseload of about 68 clients.
This $1,154,636 in new funding will make it possible for the County to add two additional ACT teams. These teams provide evidence-based programs that deliver comprehensive and flexible treatment, support, and rehabilitation services to individuals in their natural living settings rather than in hospital or clinic settings.
These teams have been found to improve recipient outcomes with studies showing greater reductions in psychiatric hospitalization rates, emergency room visits and higher levels of housing stability after receiving ACT services.
Both teams will serve individuals with significant mental health challenges, while one of them will focus on individuals who are re-integrating into the community after incarceration.
The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH), in accordance with the 2014-2015 enacted State Budget, also allocated funds to Suffolk County for its Mental Health Care services.
State Mental Health officials said “the development of community-based mental health programs is critical to the success of the mental health system in New York State.”