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ICL Awarded $1.4M Grant to Support Behavioral Health Services for Older Adults in Brooklyn

Awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

(New York, N.Y.)—Today, the Institute for Community Living (ICL), a premier innovator of whole health care that serves more than 15,000 New Yorkers each year, announced it has been awarded a $1.4M grant from the United States Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide culturally and linguistically responsive home-based mental health treatment and recovery services for older adults with mental health illness. Project Older Adult Recovery Supports (OARS) is designed to address longstanding inequities in care that have been exacerbated by the pandemic by identifying, re-engaging, and bringing older adults with significant mental health and/or substance use disorders to ICL Community Mental Health Clinic services.

ICL has now won two major grants from SAMHSA in the last few months, solidifying its status as an innovative leader in providing integrated whole health care. In May, ICL was one of only 10 organizations in New York State to be awarded $2.2 million from SAMHSA as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. Under this grant, ICL will provide whole health care services in East New York, Brownsville, Cypress Hills, Ocean Hill, and Bedford-Stuyvesant, with a focus on Hispanic/Latinx communities and veterans. ICL will use the new OARS grant funding to deliver flexible, in-home, and trauma-informed outreach, treatment, and peer support services to seniors with mental health challenges who have faced barriers to adequate services during the pandemic.

“The pandemic has made it extremely difficult for older adults, many of whom were already struggling with mental health issues, to access the services they need to live happy, healthy lives,” said Jody Rudin, President & CEO of ICL. “We thank SAMHSA for this generous grant, which will allow us to build on the work being done at our East New York Health Hub and better deliver services that meet the whole health needs of older adults, particularly in Hispanic/Latinx communities, in Brooklyn neighborhoods that have been devastated by the pandemic.”

“This new grant from SAMHSA will result in ICL building on our whole health model to more fully integrate what matters most to the Hispanic/Latinx community and ensure that they are part of the care delivery design,” said Pamela Mattel, Chief Operating Officer of ICL. “We are grateful for SAMHSA’s ongoing support, and look forward to serving Hispanic/Latinx seniors in neighborhoods hard hit by the pandemic.”

According to the CDC, 20 percent of people age 55 or older experience some sort of mental health concern. The pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues, and, despite an increase in telehealth offerings, has reduced treatment access for older adults. The grant will allow ICL to connect and reconnect older adults through a multidisciplinary team approach, telehealth and evidence-based practices.

The OARS team, consisting of a Registered Nurse, Mental Health Clinicians, and Peer Specialists will facilitate access to telehealth that connects clients with clinic-based psychiatrists, primary care physicians, and off-site social services; provide in-home/outpatient treatment that is evidence-based; psychosocial rehabilitation and intensive case management via Critical Time Intervention; and peer supports. Services are aimed at both directly improving clients’ mental health and helping them transition to clinic- and community-based mental health services. As outreach and services will be culturally and linguistically responsive and targeted to local Latinx residents, the project addresses persistent racial/ethnic inequities in access to healthcare.

The work will be focused in East New York, Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant, as well as Bushwick, which has a high Latinx population. Most residents are from communities of color — 61 percent are Black and 27 percent are Latinx, approximately 25 percent of residents are age 55+, with almost 3 out of 10 seniors experiencing poverty (29 percent). During the pandemic, these neighborhoods have seen death rates significantly above the NYC averages; East New York, in particular, has the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths in New York City, with 945/100,000 fatalities. Latinx communities, in particular, are less likely to receive treatment for mental health issues than Whites, including during the pandemic, while suffering from elevated rates of infection and death rates from COVID-19, as well as depression and anxiety.

The grant will focus on the neighborhoods around ICL’s East New York Health Hub, which opened in October 2018. The 40,000-square-foot, $30 million health and community center on the border of East New York and Brownsville takes a holistic approach to tackling long-standing health disparities in communities that are home to large Latinx, African American, and Caribbean populations, and have some of the highest rates of poverty, food insecurity, and violence in New York City. This has led to poor health outcomes including high rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, substance misuse, and behavioral health-related hospitalizations.

The Hub offers programs and services to address both the socio-economic and clinical determinants of health. Individuals and families have access to a full array of services, including primary care—through a Federally Qualified Community Health Center operated by the Community Healthcare Network—mental health care, care coordination, housing services, nutritional support, job placement, youth and parent advocacy (including school support), and recovery. This approach, which addresses both physical and mental health and social determinants of health like housing, employment, and healthy food access makes the East New York Health Hub a national model for integrated primary and behavioral health care.

Each year ICL works with New Yorkers struggling with mental illness, substance use disorder, and developmental disabilities to be better, feel better, and live better. In the past year, ICL clients saw a 59 percent reduction in emergency room visits, and an 83 percent reduction in hospitalizations for mental health reasons.

The organization provides life-saving mental health and substance use disorder services; care coordination; and temporary shelter and long-term housing for low-income, underserved, and homeless individuals and families in New York City. ICL supports people by providing trauma-informed, recovery-oriented, person-centered, integrated physical and behavioral health care.

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About Institute for Community Living

It is Institute for Community Living’s (ICL) mission to help New Yorkers with behavioral health challenges live healthy and fulfilling lives by providing comprehensive housing, health care, and recovery services. We take a trauma-informed approach—meeting the people we serve wherever they are, working together to support them in achieving their goals.

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