de Blasio Administration cooperates with Borough President to allow a valuable children’s mental health facility to remain in the Borough
Staten Island, NY – Borough President James Oddo is pleased to announce that Child Mind Institute (CMI) – the children’s mental health facility which launched a groundbreaking research program on Staten Island called the Healthy Brain Network (HBN https://healthybrainnetwork.org/ ) back in 2015 – has obtained the financing necessary to maintain a presence on Staten Island thanks to funding provided by the de Blasio Administration.
This program collects information on how children think, feel, and learn, and also collects data from many sources (including, but not limited to, neuropsychological testing, IQ testing, EEGs and functional MRI scans) in order to create the largest biorepository of information on children’s mental health. The goal is to identify new ways to diagnose and treat mental health disorders in children and adolescents, using a biological approach.
CMI/HBN on Staten Island was only funded for a five year period. Without further funding, its doors would have closed on Staten Island as originally planned, and they would have moved to their Harlem location, in order to focus on recruiting children and families from other boroughs. Staten Island was in danger of losing a unique and valuable resource that provides free, comprehensive mental health screenings and evaluations for our community. At the request of Borough President Oddo to Mayor de Blasio, City Hall agreed to fund the Child Mind Institute in order for them to continue to operate on Staten Island.
Borough President Oddo is also pleased to announce his office has been working closely with top administrators and the Department of Pediatrics at Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) to enable the co-location of CMI/HBN at their outpatient pediatric ambulatory center.
“As you can imagine, had we lost these valuable services it would have left a huge gap in our community, since it is highly unlikely that many – or any – of our families would have traveled to Harlem for twelve hours of screening. The methods we used to obtain this funding from City Hall were extensive and varied, and in the end the Mayor came through,” said Borough President James Oddo. “Mental health and learning disorders are real, common and treatable, but the majority of children don’t get the care they need. The number of children screened through the CMI/HBN represents not just the children who received needed evaluations, but also their families who were searching for answers. Far too many children and adolescents simply don’t get the treatment they need, which is why we did whatever it took in order to help obtain funding to continue their important work right here on Staten Island.
“Reading Dr. Warren Farrell’s book ‘The Boy Crisis’ reaffirmed our belief in the importance of fighting for these resources and strengthened our resolve to not allow this critical work to come to an end. Councilman Joe Borelli, an early supporter of our Boy Crisis work, stepped up to be the City Council sponsor for this money in the recently adopted city budget. Thanks must also go to Emma Wolfe, Chief of Staff to the Mayor, without whose behind the scenes work and support this would not have happened.”
“In New York City, we recognize that there is no health without mental health. Failing to invest in diagnosis and treatment for kids means missed opportunities to improve people’s lives early on. I applaud Borough President Oddo’s commitment to the mental health of Staten Islanders and am glad to know kids and their families will continue having a much-needed resource to get the screenings and help they need,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
“I’m so glad we were able to ensure that the Child Mind Institute remains on Staten Island. The free screenings provided by this program have been positively affecting the lives of thousands of children and their parents over the last 5 years. Too often, we have to travel and endure long commutes with our children because of a lack of available local resources,” said City Councilmember Joe Borelli, “the funding BP Oddo and I were able to secure will keep this resource right here and available to our community.”
In just under five years on Staten Island, the CMI/HBN has provided FREE mental health and learning evaluations as well as language screens to over 2,000 children ages 5-21 on Staten Island. Of those children, 48% children enrolled in the HBN were diagnosed for the first time during their participation. All families who enrolled in this study were given comprehensive feedback reports and a one-on-one session to discuss their child’s results with the licensed clinician who conducted the evaluation.
The work of the CMI on Staten Island doesn’t end with the HBN. When our office asked the CMI to help identify other ways to integrate mental health care into primary care, the CMI launched a unique pilot providing pediatricians in our borough with an easy to use iPad screening tool for use during well visits. The tool allows pediatricians to easily screen their patients for behavioral, emotional, and other complex mental health issues that require attention and is currently offered in both English and Spanish. Over 2,000 parents and children have completed this screening tool thus far with 11.8% of patients meeting levels of clinical concern for emotional problems, 8.9% for ADHD, and 6.9% for eating disorders. A staggering 4.8% reported suicidal ideation, and 11.9% reported being the victim of bullying.