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Brooklyn, New York is the second largest of New York City’s five boroughs. Located in Kings County, on the western end of Long Island, the city is connected to Manhattan by the Brooklyn Bridge. But the 2,565,600 residents1 who call the borough home do not need to leave the area to experience arts or entertainment. The Brooklyn Academy of Music, Prospect Park, and Coney Island are just some of the attractions that draw thousands of visitors to the area every year. Many more come to take in a Nets basketball game or attend one of several universities in the borough, among which are Long Island University, the Brooklyn Law School, and the Polytechnic Institute of NYU.

Mental Health Statistics
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported that 7.5% of adults in the New York City area experienced a major depressive episode in 2007, and one third of those residents sought treatment for depression2. According to the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) 1,797 Brooklyn-area residents were referred for assisted outpatient treatment between 1999 and 20103. Of those receiving care, 17% received less than 6 months of treatment, and 22% received care for more than 30 months4. In 2008, over 153,400 NYC-area residents were admitted for substance abuse treatment. Marijuana was cited as the primary substance used by people under 25, and alcohol was the most common substance requiring treatment for those over 255. The Administration for Children’s Services documented receiving more than 17,100 reports of abuse or neglect in 20116.

Brooklyn WAIVES Goodbye to Mental Health Barriers
Helping children and families overcome barriers to treatment is a primary objective of the New York State OMH. One of the ways they accomplish this is through the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver (HCBS) program. The waiver allows children who might otherwise be directed to institutional care to gain access to outpatient services so that the integrity of the family can be preserved. Eligibility is based on emotional disturbance severity and not income so that those children most in need of intensive treatment can receive effective and adequate care.

The HCBS has expanded existing services to include crisis response and emergency services, intensive home-based care, respite care, individualized treatment plan coordination, family and caregiver support, and skill development. Case management is an integral part of the HCBS and the Single Point of Access is designed to aid case managers in identifying those children most at risk so that they can be provided with the care they need within their communities.

Alternative approaches to traditional behavioral services offered through the OMH include crisis facilities that allow for residential treatment until stabilization is achieved. Telepsychiatry, a form of distance therapy, is another innovative technique that allows residents to receive treatment in a cost-effective and expedited way. Family-Based Treatment Programs (FBTP) cohesively integrate the family, the child, the treatment, and the community so that children can flourish in their environments in a way that is most beneficial to them and those caring for them7.

1U.S. Department of Commerce, United States Census Bureau. (2013). State & County QuickFacts. Retrieved from

2Petit, J., Cohen, G. Lednyak, L. (2007). Detecting and treating depression in adults. New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Retrieved from

3New York State, Office of Mental Health. (2013). Program Statistics. Retrieved from

4New York State, Office of Mental Health. (2013). Program Statistics, Length of Time in AOT. Retrieved from

5U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2013). Substance Abuse Treatment in Metropolitan Areas, New York. Retrieved from

6New York City, Administration for Children’s Services. (2013). Statistics and Links, Yearly Updates. Retrieved from

7New York State Office of Mental Health, Information for Children, Teens and Their Families, Mental Health Treatment and Support Services in NYS. (2013). Family Support Services. Retrieved from