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In Buffalo, Hochul highlights $1 billion plan to overhaul state's continuum of mental health care


Mon, May 8th 2023 01:40 pm

FY 2024 budget provides $890 million in capital and $120 million in operating funding to establish and operate 3,500 new residential units; includes $30 million to expand mental health services for school-aged children, expands outpatient services throughout state, closes gaps in insurance coverage

√ Governor designates May as Mental Health Awareness Month, May 7-13 as Children's Mental Health Awareness Week

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday highlighted her $1 billion multiyear investment to “overhaul the state's continuum of mental health care and drastically reduce the number of New Yorkers with unmet mental health needs.” The Mental Health Care Plan was passed as part of the fiscal year 2024 budget, and, Hochul’s team said, “will increase inpatient psychiatric treatment capacity, dramatically expand outpatient services, boost insurance coverage, and develop thousands of more units of supportive and transitional housing for people with mental illness.”

Hochul made the announcement at the Delavan Grider Community Center in Buffalo, and was joined by Congressman Brian Higgins, Mayor Byron Brown, and mental health and community leaders.

"Since the onset of the pandemic, more than one in three New Yorkers has either personally sought or knows someone in need of mental health care, and our young people are reporting distress at rates unlike anything we've ever seen," Hochul said. "My mental health care plan marks an historic shift in our approach towards addressing mental health challenges, reversing years of neglect to our system, and bringing bold investments to ensure that every New Yorker has access to high-quality care. This plan uses an all-hands-on-deck approach that utilizes community resources at every level to meet the needs all New Yorkers in every corner of our state."

Hochul also issued proclamations making May Mental Health Awareness Month and the week of May 7 to 13 Children's Mental Health Awareness Week.

The fiscal year 2024 budget provides $890 million in capital and $120 million in operating funding to establish and operate 3,500 new residential units serving those with mental health challenges. It also includes $30 million to expand mental health services for school-aged children throughout the state, including $20 million for school-based mental health services and $10 million to implement wraparound services training. Additionally, the budget includes $10 million to strengthen suicide prevention programs for high-risk youth.

Brown said, "Historically, mental health care has been a neglected priority on the agenda of policy makers and funders at every level of government. The mental health epidemic does not discriminate, and affects people of all races, religions and genders. I applaud Gov. Kathy Hochul for providing record investment into the mental health care system, which will lead to better outcomes for those in our community that struggle and are in search of help."

A press release stated, “In addition to providing funding for new residential units and investing in mental health services for school-aged youth, the mental health care plan will invest in peer-based outreach, close gaps in insurance coverage for behavioral health services, and significantly expand outpatient services.”

The plan delivers for New Yorkers in need through:

√ Providing $18 million capital and $30 million operating funding to expand inpatient psychiatric beds, including opening 150 new adult beds in state-operated psychiatric hospitals, representing the largest expansion at these facilities in decades.

√ Investing $60 million in capital and $121.6 million operating funding, which will establish 12 new comprehensive psychiatric emergency programs providing hospital-level crisis care and triple the number of state-funded certified community behavioral health clinics statewide – from 13 to 39 – that offer walk-in, immediate integrated mental health and substance use disorder services for New Yorkers of all ages and insurance status.

√ Funding 42 additional assertive community treatment teams for children and adults to provide mobile, high-intensity services to the most at-risk New Yorkers and eight additional “safe options support” teams – five in New York City and three in the rest of state.

√ Providing $28 million to help create 50 new “critical time intervention” care coordination teams to provide wrap-around services, from housing to job supports, for individuals needing transition assistance, including children and adults discharged from hospitals and emergency rooms.

√ Building on investments made in the FY 2023 budget, including $12 million for HealthySteps and home-based crisis intervention programs to promote early childhood development and treatment for children and teens; and $3.1 million to bolster treatment for individuals with eating disorders.

√ Allocating $2.8 million to expand the intensive and sustained engagement treatment program to offer peer-based outreach and engagement for adults with serious mental illness.

√ Providing $18 million over two years to reimburse providers for family preventive mental health services for parents and their children; and $24 million over two years to reimburse providers for adverse childhood experience screenings.

√ Supporting the workforce with a 4% cost of living adjustment and $14 million for the Office of Mental Health's Community Mental Health Loan Repayment Program, expanding the eligibility for the program to include licensed mental health professionals.

√ Additionally, Hochul’s team said, “the budget closes gaps in insurance coverage that have posed a barrier to New Yorkers needing mental health care and substance use disorder services.”

The FY 2024 budget also provides an additional $60 million to support the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – an increase of $25 million from the prior budget.

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