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Higgins: $8 million in federal funding to assist mental health & substance abuse services in WNY

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Fri, May 8th 2020 01:45 pm

Congressman Brian Higgins announced the award of $8 million total in federal funding through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to BestSelf Behavioral Health, and Horizon Health Services for expansion and continuation of mental health and substance abuse services.

Of the $8 million, BestSelf Behavioral Health is receiving funding in the amount of $4 million over two years to sustain and expand its current New York state-certified community behavioral health clinic (CCBHC). The funding will allow for increased access to 24/7 counselors, peers, nurses and other supports through telemental health and live web chat; social support activities provided through a clubhouse location in the City of Buffalo and expansion to a new location in Orchard Park; and afterhours comprehensive services for transition age youth who may be at risk of suicide, homelessness and serious substance use.

These CCBHC expansion services will supplement current activities and continue to enable BestSelf to provide comprehensive, community-based mental health and substance use disorder services in an approach that emphasizes recovery, wellness, trauma-informed care, and physical-behavioral health integration.

“This federal grant is another example of BestSelf’s ongoing efforts to bring innovative behavioral health resources to our Western New York communities, including evidence-based treatment programs and important social supports. BestSelf is committed to doing whatever we can to support the emotional well-being of people living in the communities we serve,” said Howard K. Hitzel, Psy.D., president/CEO of BestSelf Behavioral Health.

Horizon Health Services is being awarded $4 million for expansion and continuation of children and adolescent services, and the implementation of a pilot program to children in three area school districts. The funding will also be used to enhance care access and outcomes by expanding their telehealth capability to all Horizon Health Services clinics, increasing the number of mental health and substance use disorder programs to reduce wait times, averting patient crises during transitions in care, improving patient adherence to psychotropic medication through medical care linkages, improving key treatment access and outcome indicators, and increasing access to holistic community based services for vulnerable and undertreated individuals impacted by mental illness and substance abuse.

“We are grateful to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for the CCBHC award granted to Horizon Health Services. The grant offers an opportunity for critical service expansion in WNY to improve access to treatment and recovery support services through technology with a focus on population health management,” said Anne Constantino, president and CEO of Horizon Health Services.

Higgins said, “This represents a substantial federal investment into the mental well-being of our community at a critical time when the stressors of the public health emergency bring a new awareness of mental health maintenance and support.”

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Horizon Health Services is available to help. More information is available through its website at: www.horizon-health.org or by calling 716-831-1800. Residents can also reach out to BestSelf Behavioral Health 24/7 by calling 716-884-0888 or using the online web chat at www.bestselfwny.org.

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