As wonderful as this news is, we remain concerned that this commitment is not nearly enough to respond to the mental health and addiction crisis that has existed for years, and was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic which we are still in. We will continue to work with the Governor and the Legislature to add an additional $500 million funding in this year’s Budget to fully address this crisis.
Governor Kathy Hochul’s State of the State Address is a game changer for the behavioral health community. For many years, behavioral health advocates have fought very hard to get a financial commitment from the State to support and promote a high quality workforce to provide desperately needed services to New Yorkers. Despite a statutory commitment to a cost of living adjustment for the last 14 years, this has proven illusory. Each year, the COLA was either taken out of the Budget or the enacted COLA was minimal.Governor Hochul’s State of the State Address specifies that her upcoming Executive Budget will commit $500 million for the human services sector tied to workforce. In addition, the Budget will include a $2 billion health care and mental hygiene fund that can include workforce retention bonuses. There are also welcomed additional priorities in mental health around school based services and suicide prevention. We can’t thank Governor Hochul enough for choosing these priorities in her first State of the State address. Her Administration is off to a great start.