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Mental Health Update

August 16, 2019
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 8/16/19 – MHANYS Signs Official Agreement with Herkimer Community College to embed CarePath for Students Graduating with a Human Services Degree

Yesterday, MHANYS officially signed an agreement with Herkimer County Community College to embed the MHANYS CarePath program into the curriculum for all individuals graduating with a Human Services degree. We are very excited about the partnership and credit the School President, Dr. Cathleen McColgin and Grace Ashline, Herkimer’s Supervisor for Human Services for working with MHANYS to insure the establishment of the first of its kind program in the country. Articles about the signed agreement are listed below.

The Care Path program was developed by MHANY, through the leadership of Deb Faust, our Director of Family Engagement and Support. MHANYS CarePath program is based on our long history of service to individuals and families including the groundbreaking program, ‘Supporting Parents with Psychiatric Disabilities’, the Resiliency and Recovery Initiative Serving Military Families, the collective work of our members and Deb’s personal experience and expertise to develop this Whole Health Model for engaging both the family and their loved ones together and not separately. To date, we have close to 100 MHA members certified as Care Path Coaches. We have also been in conversation with several Long Island hospitals to include the CarePath in their programming.

We are offering three day trainings in September, October and November. To find out more about the trainings, you can contact Deb directly at

New Program Certifies Students in Promoting Mental Health

By Melissa Krull Herkimer
PUBLISHED 5:27 PM ET Aug. 15, 2019 UPDATED 6:57 PM ET Aug. 15, 2019

Deborah Faust works at the Mental Health Assocation in New York State, and it’s a job she takes seriously.

“I’m a person who has a family member who manages a rather serious mental health condition,” Faust said. “The work that I do is meaningful to me not just professionally but personally.”

Faust, and the association, believe effective treatment comes from considering more than just one issue, such as supporting healthy reconnections with family and friends.

“It really is about looking at the wholeness of a person’s life, and how that contributes or influences their ability to recover, and have a sense of well-being, and to manage their condition,” said Faust.

Treating mental illness is at the forefront of conversations nationally and locally. Herkimer County Community College is now offering the CarePath Coach Certification course.

“Whether we’re talking about mental health, whether we’re talking about addiction, they now have much more skill set to address that and to engage individuals. We think that’s incredibly powerful,” said Glenn Liebman, the CEO of the Mental Health Association in New York State.

Herkimer County Community College is the first college to offer this certification course and that’s something the school takes pride in.

“The end result is that when our students graduate and then they are out in the work force that they are ready to provide the appropriate support and services day one,” said the Herkimer County Community College President Cathleen McColgin.

“Once people understand the process, and learn how to manage their mental health condition or their substance use, the family thrives,” Faust said.

The program will be offered to Human Services majors during their final semester starting in Spring 2020. Anxiety and depression are two mental health issues common among young people today.

HCCC course a boost to students, employers, community

By Amy Neff Roth (Utica Observer-Dispatch)
Posted at 4:30 AM
A new course at Herkimer County Community College could offer lots of benefits when it comes to caring for some of the community’s more vulnerable residents, say those involved in creating it.

Those potential benefits include students who are better trained to meet current human services trends, local employers who will have an easier time filling vacancies and needed support for individuals —and their families — with mental health or substance abuse issues after they leave institutional care, said Grace Ashline, instructor and supervisor for human services at Herkimer College.

The course is offered through a first-time partnership between the college and the Mental Health Association of New York State.

“This new partnership is really exciting, I think, mutually on both ends, because it’s something that just hasn’t happened before,” said Ashline, who first proposed offering the course at the college to MHANYS, as the association is commonly known.

The course puts MHANYS’ recently developed CarePath Coach certification training, normally a three-day, in-person course, into an online class that will be required for all fourth-semester students earning a human services degree, starting in the spring.

MHANYS already has offered its three-day training to affiliates across the state and will offer it to other human service workers three times in the fall. But those attendees have to pay for training; Herkimer College students will get it as part of their curriculum.

They also may earn 20 continuing education credit hours toward becoming a Credentialed Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Counselor (CASAC).

The course and the training are well placed to help with a number of current health care and human services trends, including the opioid epidemic and a greater emphasis on community mental health care services.

CarePath is a “blueprint for maintaining better overall health and well being,” according to information from Herkimer College. It uses evidence-based and best practices as individual and families move into recovery together, letting them define health and well-being for themselves, according to the college.

“What we’ve learned is that the CarePath really is applicable to anybody who’s transitioning from hospital, rehabilitation, correctional facility, youth detention facility, supportive housing, wherever someone is struggling to transition to better health and recovery,” said Deborah Faust, MHANYS’ director of family engagement who developed the CarePath training. “This is a product that really supports those first 90 days.”

Transitions are recognized as a risky period when patients in recovery from a substance use disorder or a mental health condition may suddenly find themselves with less support and back in their old circumstances, too often leading to relapse or, in the case of the opioid epidemic, overdose.

The Center for Family Life and Recovery also has focused on these transitions with its peer advocacy program, in which people with personal experience with substance use disorder provide support to others throughout treatment and recovery.

“When we talk about treatment, we are looking at reducing symptoms of addiction,” said Ambi Daniel, family support navigator, with the center. “When we are looking at recovery, we are looking at learning to live and that’s not as simple as knowing what to do; it’s about practice.”

And more workers are needed, both in mental health and addiction programs. Ashline said she’s talked to local employers who have trouble finding enough job candidates with the right education and qualifications to fill vacancies in the mental health and substance use fields. They like the sound of CarePath certification, she said.

MHANYS CEO Glenn Liebman said the training fits in with a trend that he’s happy to see. In the past, mental health too often was left in the “distant background” during conversations about health, he said. But the trends in health care and public policy now look at both together, he added.

“You can’t just look at a person,” he said, “and say, ’We’ve looked at their physical health; they should be OK.”

Contact reporter Amy Neff Roth at 315-792-5166 or follow her on Twitter (@OD_Roth).