TYSA Launches “IN OUR BACKYARD”: A Virtual Campaign Bringing Awareness to Opioid Usage In Communities of Color

There is misinformation around the types of people that opioid use is impacting on Staten Island with the majority of focus on white, middle class, suburban residents despite rates of use and overdose among Black and Brown people and North Shore neighborhoods. TYSA aims to bring attention to the actual state of opioid use and overdose among communities of color, and build the capacity of local providers and clinicians to better prevent and treat opioid and other illicit drug use among communities of color on Staten Island.


During this time of stress and uncertainty, it is essential that Staten Islanders have access to substance use and mental health services and supports. The TYSA coalition is committed to supporting all its partners and the community in navigating our complex behavioral health system in this time of crisis. This page will be updated every few days to make sure the information is as useful as possible.

If you’re interested in volunteering with TYSA virtually, contact Jazmin at jazmin@sipcw.org. We will be holding regular virtual workgroup meetings, webinars, and community workshops over the coming weeks.

Mental health and substance use treatment services

Looking for a licensed mental health or substance use treatment provider? Telehealth allows you to access traditional healthcare without going into the clinic. Many Staten Island organizations are offering telehealth services that can connect with you even if you’re stuck at home. Please visit our resource page for phone numbers and website.


If you’re in crisis or need immediate support, use these hotlines:

  • Richmond University Medical Center: 718-818-6300
  • NYC Well: 1-888-692-9355 OR text 65173
  • RUMC Mobile Outreach: 718-818-6900
  • NYS Free Emotional Support Hotline: Thousands of therapists have signed up to offer free emotional support to New Yorkers who are struggling with the mental health impact of this pandemic. Call the state’s hotline at 1-844-863-9314 to get free emotional support, consultations and referrals to a provider.

If you are interested in talking to a peer:

  • National Alliance on Mental Illness: Call 800-950-6264 or text NAMI to 741741

Online Support Groups

Virtual support groups for people using or recovering from substance use 



Groups for family members or loved ones

SMART Recovery for Family & Friends (www.smartrecovery.org)

Parents Resources

Now more than ever, parents should be talking to your children. With many schools and daycares closed, we are spending a lot more time together at home. Add in the stress of concern over this virus, and many adults and children may be feeling anxious.

Hotlines for support if your child has a substance use disorder:

  • Center for Addiction: 1855-378-4373 OR text 55753

General Guidelines for talking to your children about COVID-19 (National Association of School Psychologists)

  • Remain calm and reassuring
  • Make yourself available
  • Avoid excessive blaming
  • Monitor television viewing and social media
  • Maintain a normal routine to the extent possible
  • Be honest and accurate
  • Know the symptoms of COVID-19
  • Review and model basic hygiene and healthy lifestyle practices for protection
  • Discuss new rules or practices at school
  • Communicate with your school
  • Take time to talk with each other

Just Talk – Parents You Matter

Interested in a workshop to build your skills to communicate with your child, recognize changes in behavior, and find community resources for behavioral health? We offer our Just Talk – PYM virtually. Reach out to Abby at abigail@sipcw.org for more information.

Social Emotional Learning in the Home

In stressful times like these, it is important we maintain the social and emotional needs of our children. There are a number of resources available to support parents and educators in discussing the virus with their child, learning from home, and fun activities to do while inside.

Resources for People of Color

There are many resources for people of color during this time of crisis. Click here to visit NAMI for a list of resources.

Call the BlackLine for support: 1-800-604-5841

LGBTQ+ Resources

The NYC Unity Project provides a comprehensive catalog of mental and physical health, social, and legal aid resources. Visit their website to learn more about LGBTQ programs and services that are available citywide.

Community Resources

Feeling stressed or anxious during this time? Need to find a behavioral health provider? Check out some of our social media campaigns on maintaining positive behavioral health for yourself and your loved ones during the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19: Access to Services & Social Distancing

Resources for Parents during COVID-19 Pandemic

Beat the COVID Blues & Suicide Prevention

About TYSA

Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA) is a coalition of people and organizations who have come together with a mission to decrease youth and young adult substance misuse on Staten Island. The coalition focuses all of its members on using their resources to help one another, and the whole community, combat substance misuse.

Contact TYSA

444 St. Marks Place
3rd Floor
Staten Island, NY 10301

Main Line: (718) 226-0258

For Media Inquiries:
Iris Kelly
(718) 226-0258

TYSA is a Proud Member

Staten Islanders Urged to Include Behavioral Health in their New Year’s Resolutions

Does your New Year’s resolution include dropping a few pounds, exercising, dieting and improving your physical health? You are not alone. Each year individuals ring in the New Year with a promise to take better care of their health. While we hear these physical health resolutions frequently, it is rare, however, to hear a New Year’s resolution about improving your mental health.
This month, the Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness (SIPCW) and the Staten Island Paid Provider System (SI PPS) are asking Staten Islanders to think beyond physical wellness by including mental health in their New Year’s resolutions.

Follow SIPCW and SI PPS on Facebook for more information.

TYSA Reminds Staten Islanders to Dispose of Unused Prescriptions on National Drug Take Back Day

On Saturday, October 22 the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will celebrate National Drug Take Back Day to remind the public to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.

Why Governor Cuomo’s Legislation Matters in Staten Island’s Fight against Heroin

By: Adrienne Abbate

Yesterday, I proudly stood by Governor Andrew Cuomo at the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island as he signed new legislation to combat heroin and prescription opioid abuse in New York State. By all accounts it was an historic day in our battle to end the opioid epidemic.

Today, after seeing many comments by Staten Islanders questioning the efficacy of this legislation, I wanted to share why this comprehensive package is important to our borough, to the state and to the entire nation.

Several months ago, Governor Cuomo announced the launch of a statewide Heroin Task Force, comprised of healthcare providers, parents, recovering New Yorkers, advocates and educators. I, as project leader for the Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness’s Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA) initiative, along with Staten Island District Attorney, Michael McMahon, sat on this task force and gave our recommendations on expanding awareness of opioid addiction, enhancing statewide prevention efforts, increasing access to treatment, and improving support for those in recovery.

I’m proud to say that Governor Cuomo took each and every one of our recommendations seriously and made an important step forward in addressing these critical problems. Here are three reasons why yesterday’s bill signing will make a difference in our community:

1) It Eliminates Insurance Barriers to Addiction Treatment

If you’ve ever dealt with an insurance issue, you know how burdensome the process to obtain approvals can be. For those who are seeking opioid treatment, every minute is critical and can mean the difference between life and death. This legislation requires insurers to cover necessary inpatient services for the treatment of substance use disorders for as long as an individual needs them.
When trying to obtain medication to manage withdrawal symptoms or maintain recovery, patients are seeing similar roadblocks. A prior approval must be obtained to receive this medication, which stops medication access to those trying to get help. This legislation prohibits insurers from requiring prior approval.

We’ve seen great success with naloxone, the anti-overdose spray, which saved three individuals experiencing overdoses in a span of 12 hours by Staten Island first responders earlier this month. This new legislation requires insurance companies to cover the costs of naloxone when prescribed to a person who is addicted to opioids and to family members on the same insurance plan. It also expands the restrictions on trained professionals who can administer the life-saving treatment.

2) It Expands and Enhances Opioid Treatment

Currently, individuals who are looking for treatment are provided with 48-hours of short term help. However, members of the task force felt that 48-hours was far too short to stabilize opioid users and, more importantly, find them long-term treatment options. This legislation will expand emergency treatment to 72 hours, and allocates funding to add 270 treatment beds and 2,335 opioid treatment program slots across the state.

Upon discharge after emergencies, hospitals will now be required to follow-up with individuals with nearby treatment options to provide continuous care. Furthermore, for individuals leaving treatment, the legislation extends the wraparound program to provide services to support long-term recovery. When individuals leave treatment, they are at a great risk for relapse. By providing education and employment resources, legal resources, childcare and peer support groups, we are helping those New Yorkers who finished treatment stay on the path to healthy living.

3) Most Importantly, It Will Help Prevent Opioid Addiction Before it Starts

To prevent opioid addiction, we have to reduce unnecessary access to it. On Staten Island and across the country, we’ve seen a simple prescription for pain medication spiral into heroin addiction. The legislation lowers the limit for opioid prescriptions for acute pain from 30-days to no more than a 7-day supply. If you suffer from chronic pain and other conditions, this will not affect your access.

This legislation will also help educate healthcare providers on opioid addiction. Pharmacists, who play a critical role in the fight against opioid addiction, are now required to provide easy to understand information on risks associated with these drugs. Additionally, all physicians and prescribers will be required to complete three hours of education every three years on addiction, pain management, and palliative care.

As someone who has seen the opioid and heroin problem escalate in our borough, and have witnessed so many of my fellow Staten Islanders seek help to no avail, I truly believe this legislation will aid in the prevention, recovery and support of the addicted. It is my hope that this legislation will be the beginning of the end of this crisis, and that the rest of the nation will follow New York State’s example.

Adrienne Abbate is executive director of the Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness. Throughout her career in the public health sector, Ms. Abbate has been a prominent advocate for substance abuse prevention and treatment. She is currently the Project Director of the Tackling Youth Substance Abuse (TYSA), a cross sector coalition aimed at leveraging the power of collective impact to improve health outcomes for Staten Island youth.