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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

May 31, 2017

NYS Office of Mental Health Announces Further Expansion of Program Aimed at Helping Young Adults with Schizophrenia

Newest OnTrackNY Site Now Accepting Referrals in the Southern Tier

ALBANY, NY - The New York State Office of Mental Health today announced that a highly successful state program that helps young adults with newly emerging psychotic symptoms has expanded into the Southern Tier at the Greater Binghamton Health Center (GBHC).

Most of the approximately $460,000 in operating costs for the Binghamton site are provided through the OMH’s reinvestment funds. To date, nearly $5 million in reinvestment funds have increased access to community-based services in the Southern Tier.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said “The OnTrackNY program is setting the standard for early intervention by helping young adults at the very onset of psychosis. It’s so important to help these individuals meet their personal goals, and engage in care from the very start of emerging symptoms, and that’s precisely what this program achieves.”

The OnTrackNY program provides early-intervention services for young people ages 16 to 30 who are experiencing their first psychotic symptoms, such as unusual thoughts or behaviors, and hearing or seeing things that others do not. The program aims to help individuals avoid institutional care and remain integrated in their communities by working with them to achieve their personal recovery goals for school, work and social relationships. The innovative, team-based approach provides psychiatric treatment, employment and educational services, as well as family education and support at 20 locations throughout New York State.

David Peppel, executive director of GBHC, said “This comprehensive program is one of the best in the nation for helping individuals who are starting to experience symptoms of schizophrenia. I am very pleased to have helped bring this program to the Southern Tier, to help ensure that young vulnerable New Yorkers have the resources and support they need to attain their life goals and reach recovery.”

It is estimated that nearly 3,000 New York residents develop schizophrenia each year, which if left untreated, may lead to a number of significant issues, including problems at school and work, strained family relations, and estrangement from friends. Untreated schizophrenia can lead to problems such as homelessness, incarceration, and substance abuse, the probability of which increases the longer the psychosis goes untreated. Oftentimes, untreated schizophrenia leads to disability, which exacts painful human costs upon the individuals and their families, as well as substantial financial costs to individuals, families, and the healthcare and social service systems. 

“Schizophrenia usually emerges in young adulthood and puts the young adults it strikes at huge risk of going off-track,” said Dr. Lisa Dixon, Director of OnTrackNY.  “OnTrackNY is helping young people stay in school or stay employed while learning how to manage their illness. This program builds on the successes of the National Institute of Health’s RAISE program, which showed that early intervention services help young people who have just started to experience psychosis to stay in school and work."

Since its inception in 2013, the OnTrackNY program has expanded to 20 sites statewide and will now serve 760 New York youth at any given time. This newest location opening in Binghamton will serve individuals in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego, Tioga, and Tompkins counties. The Office of Mental Health is continuously working to identify additional sites for further expansion.

The program is funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health and the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

For more information on OnTrackNY, visit: http://www.ontrackny.org.

To find a program near you visit http://ontrackny.org/Contact


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