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Office of Mental Health

Clinical Advisories & Guidelines

The following advisories have been issued by New York State Office of Mental Health to provide guidance to providers and the general public.

Health Alert

Illegal Synthetic Marijuana

July 14, 2016

There has been an increase in the use of synthetic marijuana, which has resulted in severe adverse events and increased emergency room department visits. The following geographic areas are particularly affected and require special attention: Long Island, Brooklyn, Upper Manhattan and Syracuse. OMH is also aware of individual cases in other areas of the state. For additional information, see the referenced advisories from NYS Department of Health PDF Document and NYC Department of Health Leaving OMH site as well as Governor Cuomo’s health alert.

Health Advisory

Increased Risk of Heat Illness to Persons Taking Antipsychotic Medications

May 19, 2016

People who are receiving antipsychotic medications are at increased risk for heat stroke and neuroleptic malignant syndrome.

Health Advisory

Clozapine: Managing Constipation and GI Hypomotility

May 18, 2015

OMH has issued a Health Advisory-Clozapine: Managing Constipation and GI Hypomotility in an effort to raise awareness of the approaches for preventing, monitoring and treating constipation and gastrointestinal (GI) hypomotility associated with the use of clozapine.

Health Advisory

Clinical Advisory Regarding Adult Homes

August 8, 2012

OMH issued a Clinical Advisory regarding discharges from hospitals licensed or operated by the Office of Mental Health (OMH) to certain Adult Homes licensed by the State Department of Health (DOH). After receiving comments regarding the Clinical Advisory, OMH has amended that Clinical Advisory to clarify several issues.

Health Advisory

Guidance Memo on the Use of PRN Medications

April 29, 2010

The Office of Mental Health recently released guidance for all hospitals under its jurisdiction, on the use of PRN medications. It is intended to replace all previous guidance and policy on this topic, including OMH Official Policy PC-530, "PRN for Agitation." It is effective immediately.

Health Advisory

Guidance on Electroconvulsive Therapy for Individuals under Age 18

April 29, 2010

This OMH Practice Advisory addresses the use of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) for individuals under the age of 18 years. The Office of Mental Health is distributing it as a directive for all State-operated psychiatric facilities, and as a practice advisory to other mental health care providers in New York State.

Download Memo: Memo
Health Advisory

Use of Antidepressants in Children and Adolescents

February 23, 2009

In 2004, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a warning and precautions to strengthen safeguards for children and adolescents because of an increased risk of suicidality in those treated with antidepressant mediations. In response to subsequent news reports, OMH developed a letter that could be used with parents and families to explain the FDA warning that now has been extended to young adults aged 24 or less. In light of the continuing need for information in this area, the original OMH letter has been revised.

Health Advisory

Antipsychotic Medication Use in Adults

February 16, 2009

OMH Issues Clinical Advisory on Antipsychotic Medication Use in Adults With the increasing controversy surrounding the prescription of antipsychotic medications, the Office of Mental Health has issued a clinical advisory in an effort to raise awareness of benefits, risks, side effects and best practices for these medications.

Health Advisory
Health Advisory

Cautions Against the Use of Antipsychotic Medication for Treatment of Dementia

June 24, 2008

While antipsychotics are the treatment of choice for positive symptoms like hallucinations and delusions in patients with schizophrenia, antipsychotics are not approved by the FDA for the treatment of dementia-related psychosis. OMH cautions against the use of both first and second generation antipsychotics in elderly patients treated for dementia-related psychosis or dementia-related behavioral disturbances.

Health Advisory

Guidance on Electroconvulsive Therapy

September 22, 2007

OMH Guidance on Electroconvulsive Therapy presents a quality review process for State-operated psychiatric centers.

Health Advisory

Use of Atypical Antipsychotic Medication in Children and Adolescents

May 16, 2007

The New York State Office of Mental Health provides the attached Advisory on the treatment of children and adolescents with second generation (SGA) (or novel or atypical) antipsychotic medications.

Health Advisory

Electroconvulsive Therapy Review Guidelines

January 13, 2003

Electroconvulsive Therapy Review Guidelines are for use by provider hospitals and facilities, based on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) recommendations.