New Evidence-Based Best Practices Center

New York State has just joined the movement for evidenced-based best practices in a big way. The state is currently developing the Evidence-Based Practice Technical Assistance Center (EBP-TAC) to help upgrade New York State’s mental health services. The State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and Columbia Medical Center’s New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI) are collaborating to “improve mental health services, insure accountability, and promote recovery-oriented outcomes for consumers and families,” according to a press release from (State of New York OMH, 2008). It’s hoped that improved physical health outcomes for people with major mental health disorders, a serious issue, will also be a result.

The Center will offer a broad array of services within New York State, such as clinical training support, public education, consensus-building, outcome evaluation and more. “We know that with appropriate treatment and supports, recovery from mental illness is possible. We also know that there are treatments and interventions that have been documented by scientific research to be effective, but oftentimes they are not being provided to individuals with mental illness,” stated OMH Commissioner Michael F. Hogan, PhD (State of New York, 2008).

So far, the center has been helping agencies implement Wellness Self Management (WSM), a curricula revised from the SAMHSA-sponsored evidence-based Illness Management and Recovery (IMR) Toolkit which focused on “knowledge about mental illness, reducing relapses and rehospitalizations, coping more effectively and reducing distress from symptoms and using medications more effectively” (SAMSHA, 2003).

The WSM includes a consumer workbook and education for supervisors and clinicians, but these are not yet available online. The good news for practitioners who need help now with people who have serious mental health issues is that SAMHSA does have a document called Recovering Your Mental Health: A Self-Help Guide and other recovery and wellness resources online, in addition to several best practice toolkits for this population in downloadable formats.

© Copyright 2008 by Jolyn Wells-Moran, PhD, MSW, therapist in Seattle, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Aleena


    November 11th, 2008 at 12:13 AM

    It’s about time the govt. did something concrete about mental health services. Most people are clueless with regards to mental health problems. The govt. should give out handouts in public places as well as in educational institutions in order to educate people about mental health issues and facilities available. Someone who has walked a lonely road with regards to my child hence I have strong views.



    November 11th, 2008 at 4:18 AM

    I think this is a great idea! I am glad to hear they are going beyond to help others with serious mental illness.

  • Alyssa


    November 11th, 2008 at 4:19 AM

    We need more centers like this.. This would make a big difference in helping the ones who need it and building trust in these centers.

  • Richard


    November 11th, 2008 at 5:17 AM

    I am happy to hear that the movement for improvements are starting to take off. I hope that more of the same continues and greater improvements will be seen soon across the board in every state.

  • neena


    November 11th, 2008 at 7:03 AM

    Thank you Jolyn for the informative post. Any development in the cure of mental disease is appreciable because it is easier to treat a physical disability but a mental illness is hard to diagnose and more difficult to cure as well. Living with a mentally ill patient can be unnerving unless you have help at hand.

  • Kimm


    November 12th, 2008 at 5:13 AM

    Great job- thanks for the updates!

  • Helen R

    Helen R

    November 15th, 2008 at 5:14 PM

    When can we expect these good things to spread nationwide? It is great to see the expansion of services in certain states but at the same time it seems unfair to those who do not have the same type of forward thinking leadership.

  • mica


    November 17th, 2008 at 2:40 AM

    It’s so great to hear that there is help available. Families who live with someone that is mentally ill really need the help to them. I hope that more states make this available.

  • tudy


    November 17th, 2008 at 2:42 AM

    This article is long over due. I am thankful that others see the need for help. My mother had to take care of my brother who was mentally ill and she needed all the help she could get. I know it was a struggle sometimes with my mother and my brother, but my mom had many people around her that was understanding and willing to help.

  • AMH


    November 17th, 2008 at 4:06 AM

    Like we have known for years when you improve the status of one’s physical health, the state of mental health is sure to follow suit and vice versa. It is nice to see that there are now clinics which are going to be devoted to this practice, and hopefully this model will soon have a trickle down effect in a very positive way. There are many instances that I have personally been witness to when one aspect of one’s health was treated the others began to show immediate improvement. I am thankful that there are now others who have witnessed this too and have been willing to create places that are dedicated to providing this type of care. We are finally moving forward in much of our thinking and there are going to be many people who can benefit from this as a result.

  • Holly D

    Holly D

    November 18th, 2008 at 8:56 AM

    What types of things are being employed in this approach to ensure that accountability is mandated?

  • Shannon


    November 24th, 2008 at 4:56 AM

    I work as a nurse in a mental health facility in a different state and let me tell you there are definitely changes that need to be made across the board! While I would not necessarily say that services are sub standard I definitely think that they are not up to par with what you would see in facilities that treat patients with other diseases, such as cancer or even heart disease. Those illnesses are not looked at as shameful while I still think that there are many who view meatal illness in this way. The patients and care givers for them are never given the respect they need and deserve in society and that makes me so sad. As a nurse there I think our staff is very loving and aware of patient needs but there is never the full support that we need to keep it head and shoulders above the rest. Our patients and families are dealing with some things that are beyond their control and the sooner that people realize that the better the entire mental health community is going to be.

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