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

May 27, 2021

OMH Recognizes Wayne Behavioral Health Network for Service to the Community with Commissioner’s Community Care Awards

The New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) is recognizing the work and commitment of Wayne Behavioral Health Network (WBHN) and naming the organization as a recipient of the annual OMH Commissioner’s Community Care Awards for 2021.

These awards are given during May – Mental Health Awareness Month – to recognize the extraordinary achievements of individuals and organizations who have furthered the OMH mission and made a positive contribution to the mental health system in their communities.

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan, said, “OMH is fortunate to have many great partners across the State who are helping us reshape state and local mental health systems by enhancing community-based services and improving the delivery of care and health outcomes for consumers.  Wayne Behavioral Health Network has done a remarkable job collaborating with school superintendents and staff in school districts throughout the county.  They have OMH licensed school satellites in every school, interact and reach out to families and students, and have also worked to ensure that services have been available throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They have done an extraordinary job and are certainly deserving of recognition.”

James M. Haitz, Director of Community Mental Services for Wayne County, said, “On behalf of the Wayne County Department of Mental Health and Wayne Behavioral Health Network, I want to thank the NYS Office of Mental Health for this recognition and prestigious award.  We are deeply humbled and honored to be selected as this year’s recipient of the OMH Community Care Award.   Our organization is truly committed and dedicated to improving the emotional health & wellbeing of the youth in our community and in our schools. We also recognize that our strong progress and success has been supported by the many tremendous partnerships that we have, including those with our local school districts and their superintendents, community partner agencies, and our fellow county departments.

“But most significantly, it’s the dedication and outstanding work by the WBHN mental health clinic team members who go to work every day to deliver the services in a compassionate, competent, effective, and professional manner.  It goes without saying that the past year has been an extremely challenging year for many people, on so many levels.  I’m so proud of my team and our clients for persevering over this past year through these tough times.  We are so fortunate to be able to do the work that we do and to be in a position to help others.  We are very excited and grateful to receive this special award and we sincerely thank OMH for this recognition and honor.”

WBHN currently operates 29 school based mental health satellite clinics in all 11 School Districts in Wayne County.  As the COVID pandemic surged in the Spring of 2020, WBHN quickly implemented tele-mental health services in all clinics, and made extra efforts to be sure that families, students and school personnel were made aware that mental health services were available all through the epidemic. 

During the summer recess break staff contacted each school district superintendent to coordinate with them on the delivery of services and how to best address the needs of children as the new school year began. 

All during the pandemic WBHN offices remained staffed and continued to provide mental health and addiction services.  Mental health nurses utilized a mobile clinic van to go out into the community to ensure that patients who required injection medications were able to receive them on time. WBHN also established a mobile site clinic to provide clients with additional options and ensure continuity of treatment.

The Community Care Awards were created in 2019 to highlight OMH’s partners and stakeholders in local communities across the State that are helping to identify and eliminate gaps in services and are working to build strong community-based behavioral healthcare systems.  Input from these local partners helps OMH better understand regional needs and implement programs that will help people on the road to recovery from mental illness live their lives with a greater degree of independence and dignity.

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