Wayne Behavioral Health recognized for pandemic response

COURTESY OF NEWS REPORTS
Stock photo.

The New York State Office of Mental Health recognized the work and commitment of Wayne Behavioral Health Network by naming the organization as a recipient of the OMH Commissioner’s Community Care Awards for 2021. 

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

“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,” Commissioner Ann Sullivan said. “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.” 

WBHN operates 29 school-based mental health satellite clinics in the county’s 11 school districts. As the COVID-19 pandemic surged in the spring of 2020, WBHN 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.  

During the summer recess break, staff contacted each district superintendent to coordinate 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 ensure 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. 

“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,” said James Haitz, director of community mental services. “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 and well-being 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. 

“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.”