MHANYS looks forward to working with our friends and colleagues at ASAP and the Coalition for Behavioral Health as they undertake a strategic partnership.  Also very much appreciate their highlighting the 3for5 initiative as one of their top advocacy items. Our entire human services sector is speaking with one voice in advocating for a three percent increase in funding for the human services sector every year for the next five years.

Mental health advocacy groups form statewide partnership (Crain’s)

The New York Association of Addiction Services and Professionals and the Coalition for Behavioral Health have formed a strategic partnership.

The partnership is expected to provide a stronger and unified voice, the organization’s said, to advocate for state policies, medical services and financial resources to address mental health and addiction treatment. The organizations’ combined membership totals 250 providers across the state.

Although the partnership doesn’t constitute a merger, that will be among a list of options to be considered by both boards of directors.

“We find ourselves very frequently on the same sides of issues and concerns,” ASAP Executive Director John Coppola said.

Those include limited workforce and infrastructure funding in the overlapping fields of addiction and mental health treatment, Coppola said. For instance, both organizations are proponents of the 3-for-5 initiative that asks the state for a 3% increase in human services funding during the next five years.

They also include working to ensure that the mental health and addiction treatment workforce has access to federal scholarships and student loan forgiveness to help retain staff, Coppola said.

“The key issue is the workforce issue,” said Amy Dorin, president and CEO of the Coalition for Behavioral Health.

“The entire health and human services sector is not getting enough people into the sector and not helping them to stay.”

Aside from policy, workforce training will be a significant focus of the partnership, Dorin said, adding that there will be a number of new initiatives to help agencies acquire specific skills.

Also, with the scope of both organizations, “we will be able to make compelling arguments in terms of foundation funding and hopefully government funding,” she said.

“My hope,” she said, “is that we seek funding together for a variety of initiatives.” —Jennifer Henderson