by Team Borelli on Apr 22, 2016 News

Staten Island, NY – City Council Member Joe Borelli and Staten Island Mental Health Society (SIMHS) President Fern Zagor announced today that they were able to secure approximately $450,000 in funding from Mayor DeBlasio’s administration which will go toward funding programs on Staten Island. SIMHS’s formerly at-risk Early Intervention program will now remain intact, and they will be able to offer an additional treatment program (the Staten Island Adolescent Program) for teens on the south shore with the infusion of funds received through the mayor’s office.

The early intervention program was previously supported by federal funding that was granted in the wake of Hurricane Sandy; Funding was set to expire in March, and Borelli had been lobbying the administration since February to save the program.

Of the $450,000 received by SIMHS, $300,000 will go to support the Early Intervention program, which utilizes an intensive care management model that helps to stabilize youth in the community who are at risk for substance abuse, with the goal of changing their trajectory, and encouraging and facilitating their engagement in healthy activities. The additional $150,000 will support the establishment of a licensed Medical Assisted Treatment program for Adolescents, the goal of which will be to provide treatment services for teens struggling with opioid and other substance addictions.

The Staten Island Mental Health Society receives 500 people annually for addiction services, of which roughly 100 of them are placed in the adolescent program. With this funding, SIMHS’ Staten Island Adolescent Program will be expanded with the aim of engaging more at-risk and currently-using Staten Island teens with intervention and counseling services.

The funding and expansion are both sorely needed and well-justified, as Staten Island public school students in grades 9-12 are more likely than youth living in any other borough in New York City to report having used all of the substances measured by the NYC Youth Risk Behavior Survey (DOHMH, 2013):


  SI Bronx Brooklyn Manhattan Queens NYC
Heroin 4.7% 4.1% 2.4% 1.4% 2.7% 2.8%
Methamphetamines 5.5% 4.3% 3.6% 1.2% 3.7% 3.4%
Prescription Pain Medication without Rx 8.2% 7.8% 7.8% 6.8% 6.6% 7.3%
Other Prescription Medication without Rx 7.8% 6.8% 6.4% 6.6% 5.7% 6.4%
Cocaine 6.4% 5.2% 4.2% 4.5% 4.4% 4.7%
Ecstasy 7.6% 5.1% 4.5% 4.7% 4.2% 4.8%
Marijuana (30 days) 20.4% 17.4% 14.0% 17.8% 15.3% 16.2%


“The mayor stepped up as the federal Sandy money ran dry. I am glad the administration was able to save this Staten Island Mental Health Society program, which is vital in combatting opioid addiction among adolescents on Staten Island. Over the past twelve months, 87 people participated in the long term program and they can now continue their counseling sessions on the South Shore,” said Borelli.

SIMHS President Fern Zagor commented, “These two programs together will provide an extremely robust, much needed continuum of services for high risk youth on the south shore. Nothing like this currently exists for our youth on Staten Island.”