Published Friday, February 5, 2021

WJCS was awarded a $4 million Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic (CCBHC) grant—$2 million a year for two years—from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The funding will be used to broaden and deepen WJCS substance abuse and mental health services in Peekskill and Mt.Vernon, two of Westchester's most under resourced communities.

"The SAMHSA grant will provide integrated care, combining behavioral health, physical health, and substance use services, to low-income individuals who face major emotional and social challenges, including lack of employment, inadequate housing conditions, poor access to health services and substance use and opioid use prevention, treatment, and recovery support," said WJCS CEO Seth Diamond. "COVID has only enhanced the challenges the residents of these communities face.WJCS is committed to providing an integrated, coordinated, and trauma-informed response to care for the people of Peekskill and Mt. Vernon."

According to national data, only 10% of people who need mental health or substance use disorder care receive treatment. In Peekskill and Mt. Vernon, six of the eight zip codes experience a disproportionate number of deaths, emergency room visits, and hospital stays due to opioid use. Many individuals living there face significant barriers to care, including low availability of timely appointments after 3pm and during the weekend; a shortage of psychiatric staff across all agencies resulting in frustration for hospital discharge planners, and the only mobile crisis team in the county not operating on weeknights after 10pm and weekend nights after 5 p.m. With SAMHSA funding WJCS will leverage its clinics, community programs, and relationships with community partners to increase access, and improve mental health and health outcomes through enhanced integration of services and meaningful engagement.

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