Redesigned Mental Health Service Corps Launches, Bringing More Mental Health Support to Historically Underserved Neighborhoods Across New York City
Seventy-six percent of new service locations are in federally-designated mental health care shortage areas
January 31, 2020
NEW YORK – NYC Health + Hospitals and the Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC today announced the launch of the redesigned Mental Health Service Corps (MHSC), an innovative program that provides three years of high-quality training to early-career behavioral health clinicians. Sixty Corps members will deliver services at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities across the five boroughs, reaching thousands of high-need New Yorkers who might otherwise go without behavioral health care.
“We’re looking forward to integrating Mental Health Service Corps members throughout the public health system and further supporting the behavioral needs of our patients,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “A healthy pipeline of any medical professional, especially those working in the mental health space, is incredibly important to ensure we continue to take care of New Yorkers.”
“I’m grateful for the hard work of many who have made this transition a success,” said Director of the Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC Susan Herman. “The Mental Health Service Corps is a vital part of ensuring equal access to mental health support for all New Yorkers, and this redesigned model will allow us to deliver on the important goals of this program.”
“The Mental Health Service Corps is a groundbreaking program that has reached thousands of New Yorkers who never had mental health support before. This innovative program will continue to train a new generation of mental health clinicians and help fill a workforce gap of clinicians who serve New Yorkers with mental health needs particularly in primary care settings. I would like to thank the clinicians and staff who launched this innovative program and led the way to a new and strengthened iteration of the program,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
In June, the City announced that the Mental Health Service Corps, a signature ThriveNYC program, would be redesigned and integrated into the City’s public hospital system. Today’s announcement marks the on-time, successful transition of this program from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to NYC Health + Hospitals, reducing the program’s annual budget from $38.5 million in Fiscal Year 2019 to $13 million in Fiscal Year 2021 while continuing to provide thousands of hours of critical mental health support to New Yorkers every year.
NYC Health + Hospitals is uniquely positioned to operate this program. Every year, the City’s public hospital system employs, trains, and supervises more than 3,500 behavioral health staff and serves over a million New Yorkers. This new model, which offers three years of comprehensive training to help early-career clinicians earn qualifying hours toward their licensure, includes:
- Careful Site Selection: NYC Health + Hospitals conducted a needs assessment to determine sites for this program. The needs assessment primarily considered current gaps in behavioral health care in various neighborhoods and opportunities for innovation. Corps members will be placed within 46 departments at 17 NYC Health + Hospitals facilities across all five boroughs. About 30 percent of the total population of New York City – approximately 2.6 million people – lives in federally designated mental health professional shortage areas. Seventy-six percent of new Mental Health Service Corps placements are located in these shortage areas.
- Intensive Supervision: To ensure the Mental Health Service Corps is a strong, competitive training program, the redesigned program includes a lower supervisor-to-Corps member ratio than the previous program.
- Diverse Training Opportunities: Corps members will have access to multiple placements over the course of the program, giving them the ability to develop an array of different skills and be exposed to diverse populations and clinical settings. Corps members will be embedded into both behavioral health and medical practices, developing the critically needed skill of integrating behavioral health care into settings like pediatric, primary care, and women’s health practices, where mental health services are not traditionally available. Corps members will be trained to serve as in-house behavioral health experts, providing assessment, treatment, and referral services for patients dealing with behavioral health concerns such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders, among others.
Launched in 2016, the Mental Health Services Corps was overseen by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and operated by the Research Foundation of the City University of New York until the end of 2019. From 2016 to 2019, the program:
- Provided clinical services to over 75,800 individuals;
- Served high-need neighborhoods, with 76 percent of site locations in federally designated health or mental health professional shortage areas; and
- Helped participating early-career mental health clinicians earn over 375,000 hours toward their clinical licensure.
Over the last several months, the City has taken several steps to support participating clinical practices and Corps members affected by this transition. These include job fairs, professional development sessions, and career coaching opportunities for Corps members, and the creation of borough-based referral guides of behavioral health resources, support with patient care transition, and individualized support for clinical practices. During this transition period, DOHMH provided recommendations on sustaining behavioral health integration to 136 primary care practices that hosted Corps members and developed six information webinars to support clinical practices on topics such as Financial Sustainability of a Behavioral Health Clinician in Primary Care. Following these efforts, 49 affected Corps members were hired directly by clinical practices that participated in the version of the program operated by DOHMH; 53 Corps members were hired by NYC Health + Hospitals, 42 as new Corps members and 11 in other roles; and 82 Corps members were hired by other employers, continuing in the social work field.
Complete list of NYC Health + Hospitals facilities with Mental Health Service Corp Members:
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, East New York
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Gouverneur
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Judson
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Sydenham
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Jacobi
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Morrisania
- NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt
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