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About Us For Patients and their Families Office of Geriatric Research Medical Education Newsletter
Gerontologic Enviromental Modifications
WCMC Division of Geriatrics & Gerontology Receives Significant Mental Health Services Grant, April 2007!

The Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology has been awarded a significant and competitive grant from the NYS Office of Mental Health to integrate geriatric mental health into primary practice.

Over the next quarter century the number of older adults in the United States will double from 35 million to 70 million, and the number of older adults with mental illness will grow from 7 million to 14 million. Although these mental health problems can have debilitating consequences, it is surprisingly difficult to find trained mental health specialists who can help with these important yet frequently overlooked problems.

NYPH’s Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology has long been concerned about the myriad and complex mental health and social problems confronting the elderly and the lack of community-based mental health resources available to help. The Division has taken a leadership role by developing a medical practice responsive to these issues, as evidenced by the presence of social work and psychiatry at the Wright Center, the Division’s ambulatory care practice, and the development of the Division’s award-winning geriatric psychosocial website:

Even in this positive environment with the Division’s enthusiastic medical leadership and talented physicians desirous of integrating mental health into the primary care setting, the current mental health issues have not sufficiently being met. The Wright Center has only minimally built a viable infrastructure to serve its patients requiring mental health assistance. This is paradigmatic of other well-intentioned medical practices as well.

The NYS Office of Mental Health grant will enable the Division to develop our existing but rudimentary infrastructure into a replicable model for ambulatory care. With this funding, the Division will co-locate mental health screening, assessment, and treatment services with its existing outpatient geriatric primary care services. The new program also plans to integrate mental health services in the Wright Center’s geriatric medical housecall program, which provides primary care for homebound older adults, and to implement a case consultation approach for assessing and addressing the mental health needs of elder abuse victims.

This is one of five co-location projects funded in by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH). In addition, three “gatekeeper development” projects were also funded. Sixty-eight proposals were submitted, the largest response to an RFP to the Office of Mental Health in history, reflecting the statewide interest in and need for geriatric mental health services.

For more information, please contact Risa Breckman, LCSW at 212-746-1674 or [email protected].

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