Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Awards Two Grants to HMH   
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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Awards Two Grants to HMH

What you need to know

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has awarded Hackensack Meridian Health two grants for more than $3.2 million, enabling the network to advance behavioral health and substance use disorder care for patients in need. 

About the First Grant

The first grant, totaling $2.6 million, will expand outpatient treatment for substance use disorders at Jersey Shore University Medical Center and JFK University Medical Center, as well as provide funding to expand the Addiction Medicine Fellowship at Jersey Shore University Medical Center to rotate up to JFK University Medical Center. Known as I.C.A.R.E., or Integrated Care for Addiction Recovery Expansion, the program will focus on adults, aged 18 and older, with opioid use disorder (OUD) in Middlesex, Monmouth and Ocean Counties where drug-related deaths represented 21% of OUD deaths statewide, with that number increasing during the pandemic.

The addiction medicine hub at each hospital will consist of a four-member team (including a lead physician, clinical lead, addiction medicine fellow and peer recovery coach), who will enable systematic screening, initiation and maintenance of a key segment of the nearly 18,000 individuals with substance use disorders treated at both hospitals annually. The teams would also provide training on the Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 to allow practitioners to dispense or prescribe buprenorphine for the treatment of OUD in settings other than opioid treatment programs, utilize telehealth and partner with organizations to increase access to MAT and reduce behavioral health disparities.

The goals of the program are to increase the number of individuals with OUD from the catchment area receiving MAT, decrease illicit opioid drug use and prescription opioid misuse at their six-month follow-up and increase the number of patients who are being treated with diversion resistant MAT treatments. 

About the Second Grant

The second grant, awarded for $623,713, will further the Mental Health Awareness in Identifying Disturbances in Emotions (AIDE) program. It will develop a Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) toolkit in four NJ counties by providing training to Hackensack Meridian Health team members at Hackensack University Medical Center, JFK University Medical Center, Jersey Shore University Medical Center and Carrier Clinic to improve community training and prepare appropriate and safe practices to respond to individuals with mental disorders, including serious mental illness and serious emotional disturbances. Additionally, the program will be rolled out to staff in various school districts, including: Hackensack, Lodi, Sayreville, Neptune, Montgomery and Hillsborough. Those same municipalities will also receive training for law enforcement officers. 

In medical emergency interventions, there can be confusion and lack of awareness about best practices and interventions for managing panic attacks or suicidal thoughts. The MHFA toolkit offers a framework for managing the treatment of individuals experiencing mental health or substance use crises. It helps identify risk factors and warning signs for mental health illness and addiction concerns, including depression, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, trauma, eating disorders, suicidal thoughts and behaviors and substance use disorders. MHFA provides strategies for assisting patients in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

The program will begin with the team members at the identified Hackensack Meridian Health hospitals and roll out to educators and law enforcement over the course of five years, ultimately training more than 2,300 people in adult and youth mental health first aid.

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