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GMHC Opens State-of-the-Art Substance Use Clinic in Midtown NYC

9.27.2017

New Comprehensive, Affordable Treatment & Counseling Services Available to Those Who Have a Dual Diagnosis of Substance Use and Mental Health Issues

Enhanced Tool in Campaign to End HIV/AIDS Epidemic in New York State by 2020 

 

GMHC-Substance-Use-ClinciCredit: Adam Fredericks

 

PRESS RELEASE
September 27, 2017
Contact: Cub Barrett | 212-367-1561| CubB@GMHC.org
Lauren Tsuboyama | 212-574-3410 | Lauren.Tsuboyama@berlinrosen.com

NEW YORK, NY—Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) today opened its state-of-the-art Substance Use Clinic at the organization’s Midtown headquarters, building on the services the Agency already offers to more than 12,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS each year.

The New York State Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) Article 32 licensed outpatient clinic will allow GMHC to incorporate enhanced and innovative substance use treatment and counseling into its comprehensive service-delivery model. The GMHC Substance Use Clinic will be available to adult New Yorkers of all sexual orientations, gender identities, and income levels, regardless of HIV status. Additionally, it will also offer vital services to increase access to care, helping individuals with HIV/AIDS remain virally suppressed and offer services to help HIV-negative, high-risk individuals from contracting HIV.

“Access to affordable, quality substance use services is a crucial component of health care, especially in comprehensive HIV care,” said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. “What’s even more exceptional and significant about this clinic is the ability to directly work with those who have a dual diagnosis of substance use and mental health issues. The Substance Use Clinic and Carl Jacobs Mental Health Clinic—housed next to each other at GMHC—will address the emotional and psychological needs often experienced by people living with or at risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. These clinics will help all clients served lead healthier lives."

Louie was accompanied at the opening by New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray; New York State Assemblyman Richard Gottfried; New York State Senator Brad Hoylman; New York City Public Advocate Letitia James; Dr. Bill Bracker, GMHC Senior Vice President of Programs and Clinical Services; and GMHC Board Co-Chairs Roberta A. Kaplan and Michael C. Harwood.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one-third of people experiencing mental illnesses and nearly half of people living with severe mental illnesses also experience substance use issues. These statistics are mirrored in the substance use community, where about one-third of all alcohol users and more than half of all drug users report experiencing a mental illness.

“We are proud to help unveil the Substance Use Clinic and to further open GMHC’s doors to all New Yorkers in need of comprehensive substance use services, especially those struggling to attain affordable healthcare and otherwise lacking access to these critical services,” said Roberta A. Kaplan and Michael C. Harwood, GMHC Board Co-Chairs. “By offering these services, GMHC will be better equipped to meet our clients’ diverse needs, and bring us one step closer to ending the AIDS epidemic by 2020.”

Fostering a safe and inclusive environment for GMHC clients and the community at large, the new Substance Use Clinic’s services will include individual, couples, family, and group therapy, serving diverse communities living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Services are aimed at helping populations at disproportionately higher risk of contracting HIV, such as young gay and bisexual men of color and transgender people.

The clinic will include 24/7 emergency support and triage to enrolled clients, and provide an entry point for linkage to GMHC’s broader programs and services, including testing, prevention education, nutrition, legal representation, supportive housing, and job-readiness. The clinic will serve clients covered by Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance and will be available to the uninsured on a sliding fee scale.

“To achieve the goals set out by Governor Cuomo to end the epidemic, GMHC is expanding the support services available for people living with and at risk for HIV/AIDS, including substance use and mental health services,” said Johanne Morne, Director of the New York State AIDS Institute. “We know that through collaboration and program development, we can better meet the needs of community members and expand access to much needed services. I applaud GMHC for their vision and commitment to meeting these goals, and improving the overall health of people living with HIV/AIDS.”

“Drug use and mental health issues represent two of the most significant challenges to ending the AIDS epidemic in New York City,” said Dr. Demetre C. Daskalakis, Deputy Commissioner of Disease Control at the New York City Health Department. “Addressing these important drivers in a culturally responsive way is critical to maintaining the health of people living with or at risk of HIV. With a history of exemplary service to our community, GMHC is a trusted and experienced provider. Expanding its mission to take on issues facing substance users represents an evolution that will be a key ingredient to driving down our epidemic.”

Due to GMHC’s effective programs and services, more than 90% of clients who test positive for HIV at GMHC’s testing center are linked to comprehensive care and attain HIV viral suppression.

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About Gay Men's Health Crisis: Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world's first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 12,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include: testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health and substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state and federal levels with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. For more information, visit  www.gmhc.org.