Bleuler Psychotherapy Center's hosted events, news-worthy articles, and other happenings from the psychotherapy and chemical dependency fields
We are excited to announce that BPC has been awarded the opportunity to build upon our NY Project Hope program experience with a new program funded by OMH; Community Mental Health Promotion and Support (COMHPS). The COMHPS program sits within OMH’s Office of Prevention and Health Initiatives.
BPC has retained the majority of our Project Hope staff who will now serve as COMHPS Mental Health Outreach Workers to continue to provide community engagement with a shift from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to support Queens residents with subclinical mental health needs and establish, maintain and improve individual and community mental health and wellness. The COMHPS program is part of BPC’s Intake and Community Relations Department with BPC’s six MH Outreach workers in the Queens community ready to work with your clients. They can provide services to include mental health wellness promotion, individual screenings for mental health conditions, brief counseling, and referral as indicated to licensed mental health professionals. The COMHPS team will also be able to assist with ongoing issues related to food and job insecurity, education, health, and other stressors that may impact an individual’s daily functioning. They will also be available to present workshops promoting mental health awareness and various other topics including stress and time management, substance use, spirituality, and overall healthy living.
Our COMHPS program is currently active and we encourage you to reach out with any questions.
Requests for COMHPS services can be made through the following:
Damaris Brito – COMHPS Team Leader firstname.lastname@example.org
(Left to right: Irma Ortiz, Damaris Brito, Edward Callahan, Sandra Wong, Max Bushman, Remy Palmer, Nafiul Bhari)
NY Project HopeTuesday, December 13th, 2022
BPC is proud to have been a partner and provider of NY Project Hope Crisis Services from February 2021 until December 2022. The opportunity was funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). It has been our pleasure for BPC to have been selected and to have participated in this incredible program that met the moment of COVID to provide outreach, education, guidance, and support to thousands of community members across the 5 boroughs.
A message from OMH Commissioner Sullivan about NY Project Hope:
To everyone involved with NY Project Hope, As NY Project Hope draws to a close, I want to thank all of you who worked to make the program a great success which has helped MILLIONS of New Yorkers receive support and services during the last two very difficult years. Your commitment is greatly appreciated, and has been applauded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) which provided funding for NY Project Hope.
NY Project Hope was initiated during a time of great uncertainty and fear. News reports highlighted overcrowded hospitals, business closures and the dangers COVID posed to ourselves and our families. Stress, anxiety and depression were common reactions to the reality of the times. People needed help. Thankfully, NY Project Hope was up to the task. More than 2 million New Yorkers received crisis counseling services through NY Project Hope. That’s 10 percent of the state’s entire population! Additionally, Project Hope served nearly 490,000 group counseling participants statewide. More than 100,000 calls were made to the Emotional Support Helpline, which initiated 390 online Wellness groups. The NY Project Hope website had more than 7.7 million visits, and we had nearly 4 million engagements on social media. But these numbers are not just “clicks” and “visits.” They represent people – New Yorkers – who needed help during an extremely difficult time in our State’s history. You, and everyone who made NY Project Hope a success rose to the challenge and helped the citizens of our state through the crisis.
Thank you for your dedication, and your hard work. New York is a better, healthier place because of your efforts.
Dr. Ann Sullivan
National Suicide Prevention Month
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness on this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. In addition to shifting public perception, we use this month to spread hope and vital information to people affected by suicide. Our goal is ensuring that individuals, friends and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help.
- If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
- If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
Additionally, one of the charities we are fundraising for as part of our Kilter initiative is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Please sign up for Kilter to raise funds and donate to the cause.
BPC flower garden
With the generous time and effort of NYC Parks Department volunteers, our BPC flower garden space has officially been started. Approximately a dozen perennials were planted and we hope they will attract butterflies for years to come. Maintenance of the space will be the responsibility of BPC and we hope that staff volunteers will assist. We will be setting up a three gallon rolling watering can with a spray house and nozzle housed in the Staff Lounge that can be rolled downstairs by staff during a break and can be easily refilled in the lounge. This will allow watering without having to climb into the garden. We will also have a calendar to note each day it has been watered. We will be safely organizing a fall planting and also planting of bulbs around Thanksgiving time and ask anyone interested to be in touch with Zahia. We will also be dedicating the garden with a marker in honor of all those who struggle and those who help them. We appreciate the support in bringing this to our block
Staff Appreciation Day Recap
Bleuler was proud to host our Staff Appreciation Day on Thursday August 12th, 2021. Our Staff Appreciation Day was not only a day to say thank you, but a day to bring us all together with some fun and meaningful activities. Each staff member was greeted with a BPC goodie bag upon entrance. The events that took place included two food trucks, an ice cream truck, our wonderful keynote speaker, Mike Veny, who was gracious enough to hand out copies of his book to staff, and a photographer for group and individual website photos. There was also a raffle for wellness prizes and giveaways in honor of our fall activity and charity challenge through Kilter. The day ended with us inaugurating our Community Garden filled with exotic and unique plants to bring together the community. We hope staff will help us maintain the greenery on our premises.
National Immunization Awareness Month
August is National Immunization Awareness Month. It is an annual observance to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages.
Below are links to resources to assist in communicating to healthcare professionals, parents, and patients about immunizations.
Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
Also known as BIPOC Mental Health Month, Mental Health America (MHA) has put together a toolkit created to fill in gaps within traditional systems that may overlook cultural and historical factors that impede BIPOC and QTBIPOC mental health. This year’s theme is Strength in Communities, where we will be highlighting alternative mental health supports created by BIPOC and queer and trans BIPOC (QTBIPOC), for BIPOC and QTBIPOC. The toolkit will explore three topic areas: community care, self-directed care, and cultural care and why these types of care are valid and valuable choices people can make for their mental health.
- Community care refers to ways in which communities of color have provided support to each other. This can include things such as mutual aid, peer support, and healing circles.
- Self-directed care is an innovative practice that emphasizes that people with mental health and substance use conditions, or their representatives if applicable, have decision-making authority overservices they receive.
- Cultural care refers to practices that are embedded in cultures that are passed down through generations that naturally provide resiliency and healing.
June 27th is PTSD Awareness Day. Most people who have PTSD do not get the help they need. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life. PTSD was once a condition that was attributed only to returning combat veterans, but more and more the condition is diagnosed in those who have experienced violent crime or lived through catastrophic events. According to PTSD United, 20% of adults in the United States who have experienced a traumatic event suffer from PTSD.
LGBTQI Pride Month
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, there is strong evidence from recent research that members of the LGBTQI community are at a higher risk for experiencing mental health conditions, especially depression and anxiety disorders. LGB adults are more than twice as likely as heterosexual adults to experience a mental health condition. Transgender individuals are nearly four times as likely as cisgender individuals to experience a mental health condition. LGB youth also experience greater risk for mental health conditions and suicidality. Transgender youth face further disparities as they are twice as likely to experience depressive symptoms, seriously consider suicide, and attempt suicide compared to cisgender lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer and questioning youth.
Here at Bleuler, we stand by our commitment to treating and working with LGBTQI community. As an organization, we have contributed to charities of color that focus on improving mental health care for the LGBTQ community. We are now striving towards implementing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion training for our management and staff members. Right now, there are 7 programs in Queens that specialize in LGBTQ behavioral services specifically. One of our partners, Housing Works, provides LGBTQ and Transgender Specialized Care, HIV Testing, Education, Housing, Counseling and Treatment, and Prep and PeP, Hepatitis B and C Screening and Treatment.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Mental Health Month has been celebrated in May since 1949 (as long as Bleuler as been in existence!).Mental Health America provides tips to cope with stress and uncertainties, outreach mechanisms, and additional information regarding COVID-19 and its impact on mental health. Mental Health America has released a 2021 toolkit that provides practical tools that everyone can use to improve their mental health and increase their resiliency regardless of their personal situation. The toolkit includes sample materials for communications and social media as well as printable handouts on the following topics:
- Adapting after trauma and stress
- Dealing with anger and frustration
- Getting out of thinking traps
- Processing big changes
- Taking time for yourself
- Radical acceptance
Please click the link here to register and access the full toolkit
2nd Floor Remodeling Project
We are pleased to update everyone about the 2nd floor makeover project that is underway! We are excited to finally modernize our main hub after several months of planning, coordinating, obtaining permits, finding the right contractors – ICS Builders, Inc. (the same contractors who renovated our 3rd floor suite) and interior designer.
The major demolition work of this makeover will be increasing the size of the Waiting Room by removing the prior treatment Room #20 and taking some space from the Front Office, swapping our current Staff Lounge with the prior “Fake Lounge” to have a new kitchen/lounge area for our staff and revamping the main Front Office (which will be a better space for backend operations and a reception area). The rest of the project includes new wall paint, carpet/vinyl flooring, replacing the ceiling tiles and lighting, covering up the radiators, insulating walls and purchasing new furniture. We will be working in phases as we did for the 3rd floor . We now have completed 6 treatment rooms and 2 admin rooms that are now actively in use!
Please enjoy some sneak peak photos and design renderings below:
COVID-19 Vaccination Update
It was a pleasure to work with the OMH and OASAS O-agency Link Outreach-Vaccinate (O-LOV) program for hosting vaccines onsite at our facility. O-LOV most recently administered vaccines to both BPC staff and clients on April 14, 2021. We strive to continue working with O-LOV on subsequent vaccinations events and schedule those eligible to receive the vaccine. Please inform your supervisor if you or your clients are interested. We are excited to coordinate and host future events as successful as the ones before!
BPC Telehealth Division
We are excited to announce the launch of our Telehealth Division and offer new positions here at BPC. Our Telehealth Clinicians will report to the Telehealth Coordinator and provide psychotherapy sessions remotely. We hope that this new division will allow us to expand our services outside the NYC area and provide behavioral healthcare to underserved areas. We’re thrilled to broaden the possibilities of more interactions with potential new partners and community organizations to deliver care to both established and new patients through telehealth.
On Friday 2/19/2021, BPC welcomed Ronnie and Angelo from Allure Pharmacy who administered the first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to 39 individuals. The combination of BPC patients and staff who received the vaccine reported on the success of the event including, setup, safety, and giveaways.
A huge “Thank You” to BPC’s Front Office staff for a spectacular job of rapidly scheduling staff and patients the days leading up to the event. Another “Thank You” to clinician Courtney Dunn, LMSW for making the initial referral to Allure Pharmacy so that we could begin this great partnership.
Representatives from Allure Pharmacy will return on 3/23/2021 to administer the second dose of the vaccine to these 39 individuals.
BPC has connected with Allure Pharmacy for a client vaccination event at the clinic site. Our target date is Friday 2/19/2021 and we should be receiving 50 doses of which we would like to administer to our patients primarily 65 and older. Our clinical staff has begun to identify these patients to ensure that we utilize these vaccinations as effectively as possible.
We are excited to announce the beginning of our long awaited second floor makeover and remodeling project. We have listened to feedback from our staff and patients and are making changes to enhance our second floor clinical and administrative space that will include a redesigned waiting area and various aesthetic changes to our treatment rooms and hallways. Since we are conducting our services remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are taking the opportunity while our space is empty to complete this project. Stay tuned for photographs as we progress through these changes!
BPC continues to send COVID-19 vaccination updates to our staff who as our behavioral health team is eligible as part of the 1a class. We have been coordinating with Wyckoff Heights Medical Center to vaccinate our staff.
By becoming vaccinated, we can serve as models for other staff and our patients to facilitate a return to safer times.
BPC became a proud provider agency of NY Project Hope at the beginning of the new year. NY Project Hope is a statewide crisis counseling initiative available to every New York resident. The Crisis Counseling Program provides support, outreach, and education to assist individuals and communities coping with COVID-19. It is a strengths-based program offering support that promotes resilience, empowerment, and recovery… always free, confidential, and anonymous.We realize the importance of providing support during this difficulttime and have taken the steps to bring this exciting initiative to our clinic. Our Program Coordinator, Jose Lopez, can be reached at email@example.com or 718.275.6010 if you have any questions. For more information on NY Project Hope, please visit their website at https://nyprojecthope.org/
At BPC we continue to provide valuable mental health and substance use services to individuals not only in Queens but across New York City. During this difficult time, we have been able to offer our services to individuals across the state, holding true to our mission of providing rapid access and quality care to those who need it most. We have transitioned the delivery of our clinical services to Telehealth (Doxy.me) and have begun to revitalize our existing groups that many have been asking about. Our Mental Health and Substance Use programs continue to remain open to provide services to existing patients and have been able to engage new patients on a weekly basis. As we look forward to our site being open in the coming months, we have created work groups to ensure that when this time comes, we reopen in a safe and thoughtful way.
We congratulate our Social Work Intern Class for the Fall 2019/Spring 2020 semesters on successfully completing their clinical and administrative responsibilities at BPC. Through the challenges of the last two months, they were able to keep their patients engaged in services while providing support to both the administrative and clinical staff at BPC.
Alexandra Kagan, MSW – New York University
Sarah Pettit, MSW – Hunter University
Melissa Pietaro, MSW – New York University
Catherine Rossi, MSW – Columbia University
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, on March 18, 2020 BPC moved all routine in person services to remote telehealth services. The clinic site remains open on Wednesdays from 10am-3pm to provide services to those who do not have access to the necessary electronic devices to take part in telehealth services as well as to provide injectable medication to those who benefit from them. Our clinical staff has been able to keep existing patients engaged and bring on new patients in this time of need, while decreasing cancellations resulting in more consistent care. New patients have also been accommodated through rapid access and the continued efforts of our Intake Department.
We are pleased to announce that our Third Floor renovations are fully completed and approved for program use. This renovation has been a vision of ours for over four years and represents a significant reinvestment of money to improve both the patient and staff experiences for years to come. This reinvestment affords us the capacity to meet demands and expand our services and program offerings with the addition of six treatment rooms including a new group therapy room and creating a new open and warm waiting room for our clients. It is estimated that the six treatment spaces can accommodate 400 patient contacts per week. The Third Floor, in its entirety, will house our Article 32 Substance Use Program and part of our Article 31 Mental Health Program.
This opening of the Third Floor would not have been possible without the relentless work of our Director of Administrative Services, Lora De Guzman, who has coordinated every painstaking aspect of the project to include serving as primary liaison to our architect, coordination with IT, furniture suppliers, our landlord and coordination of the least disruptive on site work time, and too many other loose ends to mention. Thank you Lora!
With the completion of the third floor, we will now turn our attention to the second floor renovation and improving that space for all.
In October 2019 BPC was awarded grant funding from the Office of Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) for support in our Substance Use program. The award is titled “Program Innovation and Fiscal Sustainability” designed to support outpatient providers in developing standards, analyzing performance for CQI, increasing knowledge about the cost of services, and improving access to services with a focus on the provision of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) treatment.
The award (up to $100K) will assist us in our continued practice transformation specifically to increase the skill and efficacy of our workforce and to ensure that staff are prepared to provide rapid Opioid Use Disorder care while building sustainable services. The funding is intended to help providers implement best practices for treatment of OUD through programmatic restructuring, workforce retraining, and achieving financial sustainability through revenue maximization and improvement of workflow efficiencies.
Our funding will be contingent on meeting state initiatives, implementation metrics, and outcome measures across BPC to include the following OUD best practices:
- Same-day appointment access
- Initiation of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for new OUD admissions within 48 hours; and
- Continuity and retention in addiction treatment services
We thank Governor Cuomo and Commissioner González-Sánchez for their confidence in and support of BPC as we contribute to fighting and treating the Opioid and other substance use disorder crises. Special thanks to Ms. Liana Cools, Program Manager for our Substance Use Program for taking the lead as well as all departments that contributed to Request for Applications response.
With BPC’s growing patient population, we have worked to increase psychiatric hours allowing us to stay true to our mission of rapid engagement to care. To meet the needs of our patients who would benefit from medication management, BPC has begun to utilize Psychiatrists as well as Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners to provide coverage on all days that the clinic is open.
In late September 2019, BPC’s Substance Use program integrated the services of a Certified Recovery Peer Advocate (CRPA). CRPAs (pronounced “Cer-pahs”) are peer guides (or mentors), usually in recovery themselves, a family member of someone in recovery or a friend or ally of the Recovery Community with lived experience with addiction. Commissioner, Arlene González-Sánchez states that “This initiative further strengthens our efforts to develop a coordinated network of community-based services and recovery supports that build upon the strengths and resiliency of individuals, families and communities.”
We are proud to welcome our Fall 2019/Spring 2020 Social Work Intern class representing the City University of New York – Hunter College, Columbia University, and New York University. This intern class has been fully integrated, seeing patients weekly, facilitating groups in both the Mental Health and Substance Use programs and assisting with compliance initiatives.
National Crime Victims’ Rights Week
BPC staff attended the Annual National Crime Victims’ Rights Week celebration on April 10, 2019, at Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens. The event was sponsored by Queens District Attorney, Richard A. Brown and Queens Borough President, Melinda Katz. We are reminded that victims of crime and their loved ones need the support of services that can help them to work through the physical, emotional, and financial impacts of these acts. BPC provided resources and information to families and loved ones who were impacted by crime across the city.
NYS Office of Mental Health Operating Certificate
Message from BPC’s Executive Director, Steven Helfand, PsyD:
It is with much thanks and pride that I announce that Bleuler Psychotherapy Center, Inc. received official recertification as an Article 31 Outpatient Clinic Treatment Program from the NYS State Office of Mental Health. The certification is in effect from April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2022.
The OMH audit team spent their time reviewing patient and personnel files, policies, as well as interviewing our staff and patients, and inspecting the physical plant.
Thank you to each of you who played a direct and indirect yet equally important part in the success of this recertification review that found substantial compliance with applicable regulations and requirements resulting in the maximum three year certification. This certification was dependent on everyone to include; our front office team, administrative support team, billing team, clinicians, psychiatrists, clinical supervisors, directors, management team and our contracted compliance and legal partners.
This is an exciting time as we move towards more outcome driven care and access to clinical service reports to evolve our services and maintain compliance.
Onward and Upward!
Consumer Advisory Group
BPC’s Consumer Advisory Group met on April 1, 2019 for the first quarterly meeting of the year. The Consumer Advisory Group is made up of BPC patients and serves the purpose of obtaining feedback about their experiences at the center. This feedback includes quality of services, efficiency of programs, physical plant, and suggestions for improvement. The group is facilitated by Clinical Supervisor, Dr. Leonard Tuzman. At this most recent meeting, consumers shared their compliments about the courtesy and efficiency of the reception and front desk staff. The new text and phone call reminder system was noted as being helpful to most. Suggestions were made for improvements of the waiting area as well as creating a new group for Caregivers coping with family members with various illnesses.
Bard High School Early College Queens’ Mental Health Fair & Symposium
On March 20, 2019, staff from BPC took part in Bard High School Early College Queens’ Mental Health Fair & Symposium. Dr. Sasha Soon, Director of Intake & Community Relations, facilitated a discussion after the film “Mind/Game: The Unquiet Journey of Chamique Holdsclaw,” where students were able to talk about their experiences with mental illness, symptoms, prognosis, and treatment.
Phase One of Renovations Complete
In early March 2019, the first part of our third floor renovations was completed with the staff of Bleuler Chemical Dependency Recovery Services (BCD) settling into their space. We project that phase two will be completed by the end of May 2019 and will provide at least five new treatment rooms coming on line to provide quality rapid engagement to behavioral health care. Once completed, the third floor will be utilized to provide services for both the Mental Health and Chemical Dependency programs as well as serve as a space for staff trainings and community workshops. The date of the official ribbon cutting will be announced shortly.
BPC is pleased to have created a Safety / Maintenance Associate position as we strive to create and maintain a clean and welcoming environment. Your feedback is valuable to us we seek to improve our care environment.
BPC is proud to welcome our 2018-2019 class of 5 Masters Program interns from Columbia University, Hunter College, and New York University to provide additional support to individual and group programming.
Renovations to our BCD Program
Renovations to our BCD program and BPC program on the 3rd floor are underway with a completion date hoped for prior to the end of February. Our new space will offer a welcome and streamlined waiting room with options for counter or traditional seating. Treatment rooms will be furnished with comfortable chairs and the space will include built in white noise for optimal privacy. Below are pictures of the final space.
Staff Appreciation BBQ
On August 5, 2018 we celebrated the BPC staff at our first summer event offsite at Flushing Meadow park in Queens. We had a great turn out and everyone enjoyed the great food, games, and company. We look forward to more events like this where we can show our appreciation for the dedication and hard work our staff does on a daily basis.
Groups at BPC this Summer
Exterior renovations are completed. Interior renovations to begin in Summer 2018
Now interviewing for Fall 2018 – Spring 2019 internship class
New Groups at Bleuler this Spring
Exterior renovations are almost completed. Interior renovations to begin in Spring 2018
At Bleuler we take patient feedback seriously…
At Bleuler we take patient feedback seriously and strive to create a clean and comfortable environment for all who utilize our services. We have recently updated our waiting room with new chairs and signage and welcome you to share your thoughts with us about any additional changes you would like to see. Please feel free to speak with anyone from our Front Office or Leadership team about your thoughts.