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June 11, 2007

Dear Colleague:

Commissioner Hogan and I, in collaboration with the Mental Health Services Council, are pleased to announce the schedule and format for the 2007 regional Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Mental Health Services forums. I encourage you to review the 2007 Update and Interim Report to the 2006–2010 New York Statewide Comprehensive Plan for Mental Health Services prior to these events. The Update can be found on the OMH website at: http://www.omh.state.ny.us/omhweb/Statewideplan /2006/ interim_report/update/.

As has been the case in recent years, there will be interactive discussions and more formal hearings to accomplish two goals. The first will be to provide stakeholders and the public with the opportunity to share their perspectives, priorities and experiences regarding the mental health system. The second will provide stakeholders with the opportunity to submit formal written and verbal testimony for the record.

Accompanying this letter is a schedule listing the dates, times, locations and contact information for these events. This year we will once again utilize a one-day combined format for each event, to minimize travel time and expense for individuals interested in attending both the interactive dialog and the hearing. Should there be any special accommodations that are needed, please let the Field Office contact person know. The content for the briefings and public hearings is as follows:

Discussion with Commissioner Hogan

The Commissioner will provide his perspectives on New York State’s public mental health system and emerging themes and priorities he has been hearing, and have a discussion with you to gain an understanding of your views. Underlying the discussion, the Commissioner would like to keep in focus the following questions:

Are services consumer and family centered and consumer and family driven?

How do we do better in this regard?

In addition to having discussion take place within the context of the vision and values of the public mental health system, the Commissioner would like to concentrate the discussion in three areas that have been identified by stakeholders as important:

1.Mental health services for children and families As OMH works on the development of a children’s mental health plan, in line with the Children’s Mental Health Act of 2006 (see Appendix 1), OMH would appreciate hearing about adaptations that may be needed to achieve outcomes desired by children and their families. Recommendations for developing a comprehensive strategic planning process for children and families are being sought. Additionally, Commissioner Hogan would like to learn more about how the implementation of Clinic Plus is proceeding and steps necessary to attain shared goals.

2.Housing priorities The 2007 Update emphasized strengthening housing and supports for persons with serious mental illness. OMH continues to invest very large amounts of resources into expanding housing capacity and assuring the ongoing viability of the existing capacity. Yet, we must face up to reality. There is simply no way that the state of New York is going to build a new home for everyone with a mental illness. Pretending that the impossible will happen blinds us to many things that need to be done. These include:

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