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Need Behavioral Health Training Help? Check Out the COE-NF

The Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health in Nursing Facilities (COE-NF), which opened its online doors in December 2022 thanks to a three-year grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), is a centralized hub where any Medicare- or Medicaid-certified nursing home can access trainings, tools, and other resources addressing the identification and treatment of behavioral health disorders, as well as recovery support services. Starting this September, for example, the COE-NF will host six one-hour monthly cohort sessions for nursing homes across the country so that nurse leaders and other managers, direct-care staff, and social workers can learn about behavioral health best practices and how they can be implemented in the long-term care setting. Note: Register here.

COE-NF resources cover serious mental illness, serious emotional disturbance, substance use disorders (SUDs), and co-occurring disorders, and nursing homes can request customized technical assistance for any behavioral health concern, says Shary M. Jones, PharmD, MPH, BCPS, CAPT, U.S. Public Health Service, and special assistant to the director in the Center for Mental Health Services at SAMHSA. “All resources/trainings will be oriented toward the full range of staff working in the facility.”

The COE-NF already has a series of newly created and curated resources covering a variety of mental health and substance use topics available for download in its resource bank, including:

The COE-NF also is offering monthly foundational behavioral health trainings, as well as a monthly newsletter, to provide nursing facility staff “with the knowledge, competency, and confidence to provide support to residents with behavioral health conditions,” says Jones. “These trainings will include, but not be limited to mental health 101, substance use 101, de-escalation strategies, mental health first aid, trauma-informed care, suicide prevention, and person-centered care.”

Nursing homes can submit a request for assistance online here, or they may call the COE-NF national call center at (844) 314-1433. The COE-NF is using a regional approach to provide national coverage, says Jones. “A subject matter expert with expertise in behavioral health is assigned nationally to work in each of the HHS [Department of Health and Human Services] regions. These subject matter experts will respond to electronic submissions received from nursing facilities requesting assistance and will provide one-to-one direct technical support.”

For more information on how the COE-NF can assist nursing facilities, listen to the LTC NAC Chat podcast, Behavioral Health in SNFs: New Resource Center, Nonpharmacological Interventions, and Best Practices.