Following through on the County Executive’s Transition Committee recommendations from earlier this year, County Executive George Latimer announced today the creation of a Mental Health and Substance Use Crisis Stabilization Team for White Plains. The team, to be operated by People USA (formerly PEOPLe, Inc.), is the initial step in creating Westchester’s first Crisis Stabilization Hub.
Consistent with the Westchester County Executive’s 2017 Transition Report, DCMH has undertaken the establishment of 4 Crisis Stabilization Centers (CSC) around the County, beginning with this first one, serving White Plains and surrounding communities.
The program is funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health, which provided 5 grants across the state, utilizing federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration dollars. The purpose of the funding is to underwrite one year innovative programming to reduce incarceration and hospitalization of individuals with complex mental health and substance use needs.
“We in Westchester have seen the deterioration of the safety net for our most vulnerable people. The Transition Committee, consisting of leaders from across the county recognized this, and called us to action, urging the creation of 4 Crisis Stabilization Hubs. I am proud to announce today, that nine months into my administration, my office, the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health and colleagues within Westchester, as well as outside, have come together to begin making the first one a reality,” County Executive George Latimer said.
The stabilization teams are modeled after the staffing of the nationally recognized Dutchess County Stabilization Hub, and will serve people in mental health and/or substance use crisis who are often homeless and facing arrest or emergency hospitalization. People USA was the driving force behind development of the Dutchess Hub, and showed through Westchester’s RFP process, that they are prepared to develop a similar model in Westchester.
Steve Miccio, the CEO of People USA said, “It is such a privilege to be awarded the grant to help Westchester County develop a Stabilization Center. I believe our model is an exemplary fit for the County. We focus on person-centered trauma informed assistance, with staff who recognize that our customers are important, and we are here for one purpose; to help them.”
The $489,000 funding, running through September 2019, will allow the service team to become operational, and at the same time, the County, People USA, New York State and community providers will work together to develop a sustainability plan. Part of that plan includes a physical location with 24 hour access and services, through which a person’s medical needs (both physical and behavioral) will be identified and within 24 hours they will be stabilized and connected to the appropriate level of services.
“DCMH has been working to develop such a model for several years, the recognition of this great need in the Transition Report has brought the community a greater awareness. Through the support of the Office of Mental Health, the County Executive’s office, and our partners in the community, we are taking a major step to bring needed crisis stabilization to Westchester,” said DCMH Commissioner Michael Orth.
The catchment area for the White Plains CSC includes White Plains, most of Greenburgh, Scarsdale and Mamaroneck Town and Village and Harrison – the communities typically utilizing hospital emergency services in White Plains. Through thorough analysis of each step in developing the White Plains model, the county intends to map out a replication plan for similar crisis centers in other communities throughout Westchester.