Project Abstract: The Jewish Board of Family and Children's Services requests a $5 million, 2-year grant to strengthen assessment, treatment planning, care navigation, outreach, engagement and crisis services at its Bronx Community Mental Health Center. A thousand high-need children and adults impacted by the pandemic who are new to or disconnected from care, will be assisted to engage in treatment. Telehealth infrastructure will be substantially expanded with grant funds.
Service Area/Population of Focus: The proposed project, Strengthening The Jewish Board's Bronx CMHC Telehealth and Human Infrastructure to Tackle the Pandemic Mental Health Epidemic, addresses unmet needs of the population of focus, who are low-income, Black and Hispanic Bronx residents with serious emotional disturbances (SED), serious mental illness (SMI) and co-occurring disorders (COD) living in the CMHC's economically disadvantaged service area of Crotona-Tremont, Fordham-Bronx Park and Pelham-Throgs Neck in Bronx, New York, a COVID hotspot. Jewish Board will serve 500 people a year for two years.
Unmet Need: The pandemic has and is expected to continue to cause unprecedented population-wide trauma, anxiety, stress, social isolation and economic decline for many NYC households, eroding protective factors and accelerating risk factors associated with poor MH, substance use and addiction. A NYC survey found that 44% of adult residents experienced anxiety and 36% depression, while 35% with children reported adverse impacts on their child's emotional / behavioral health. Children are being driven into, or to the brink of poverty due to rising pandemic-related unemployment, with 26,000 young people affected in the Bronx. Black and Latinx children are being more heavily impacted than White children. Strategies/interventions: With grant funds, Jewish Board's Bronx CMHC will (1) Strengthen infrastructure necessary to provide audio and audio-visual HIPAA compliant telehealth capabilities by equipping 134 staff with WIFI hotspots and tablets that have integrated webcams and microphones to enable telehealth sessions; adding client telehealth workstations at the CMHC for those who have barriers; and licensing patient-facing software to enable virtual secure exchange/execution of consents, clinical screenings and medical information. (2) Create 2 Facilitated Intake Teams--6 FTEs--to provide urgent care, comprehensive assessment, care planning and navigation for 240 people monthly. (3) Create a 8.5 FTE Bridges to Care Team to provide outreach, engagement, community crisis care and connection to community services for people with SED, SMI and COD living in Jewish Board's supportive residential programs, as well as in community housing, in the service area. (4) Staff training on evidence-based practices, including Harm Reduction and Medication Assisted Treatment.
Project goals/measurable objectives: Increase timely access to treatment for 200+ people; provide 24/7 community crisis intervention services for 200+ CMHC clients; assess unmet needs for 200 clients and successfully connect 150 of them to services.