MHANYS and eleven other statewide Behavioral Health Organizations are holding a media event today calling on Governor Hochul to support a 5.4% Cost of Living increase for the behavioral health sector in this year’s budget as well as a $500 million increase in the budget for mental health and substance use programs. In addition, this Monday at eleven, we will be holding a virtual rally in support of the 5.4% COLA and five hundred million dollar increase for behavioral health in the budget. Look for details later today about the rally and how you can participate.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Susan Bardack
518.867.7940
susan@buzzmediasolutions.com<mailto:susan@buzzmediasolutions.com>

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder Advocates Host Forum at LOB to Call for Immediate Funding in the Executive Budget Behavioral Health Leaders Highlight Industry Crisis Worsened by Pandemic (Albany, NY) – A group of 12 statewide and regional membership associations working to achieve common goals within New York’s public mental hygiene system hosted an educational forum on Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 10:30 a.m., to highlight the decades long failure by New York State to invest in the community-based mental health and substance use disorder/addiction systems of care. This neglect has led to debilitating workforce shortages across the behavioral health service delivery system and has resulted in reduced access to care at precisely the moment when demand for mental health and substance use prevention, treatment and recovery services has never been higher. The group will call upon Governor Kathy Hochul to include a 5.4% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) and $500 million investment for workforce, service, and support in her SFY 2022 -23 Executive Budget proposal.

“We are only asking for what we are already owed,” said a spokesperson for the organizations. “Although community behavioral health agencies have been promised a yearly cost-of-living adjustment, it’s only been appropriated three times in the last 15 years. Our workforce is suffering, our facilities are suffering, and worst of all, New Yorkers are suffering.”

Leaders representing stakeholders from across the state were joined by the New Yorkers who are most affected by New York’s failure to invest in the state’s mental health and substance use disorder safety net including family members, peer representatives, individuals in recovery, current staff members, and CEOs to discuss current conditions around the state. This included the negative impacts being felt in local communities due to their inability to recruit and retain staff, to meet access demands for children and adults, and to identify safe and affordable housing for those who need permanent housing, etc.

The state’s failure to invest in these services has driven away the workforce due to unacceptably low wages and impossibly high caseloads, leading to burnout. The tireless, talented, dedicated, and diverse workforce and the community agencies at which they work are no longer able to address the ever-worsening public health crises connected with the opioid epidemic, mental health housing, and increased rates of suicide in certain populations combined with the devastating impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to the forum, a virtual rally will be held on December 21, 2021, at 11:00am to continue to bring attention to this crisis.

If you would like to learn more about this pressing issue and attend the ally, please contact Susan Bardack at
susan@buzzmediasolutions.com<mailto:susan@buzzmediasolutions.com> or 518.867.7940.

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About Behavioral Health Advocates

Behavioral Health Advocates is a group of 12 organizations that have come together to achieve common goals within the Behavioral Health industry. BHA came together about a year ago, as an unformalized coalition, and they represent providers, adults, children, and families throughout New York state.

The 12 organizations that comprise BHA are:

* Association for Community Living
* Coalition of Medication-Assisted Treatment Providers and Advocates of New York State
* Families Together in New York State
* Mental Health Association in New York State
* National Alliance on Mental Illness New York State (NAMI)
* New York Association of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Providers, Inc. (ASAP)
* New York State Care Management Coalition
* New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health
* New York State Council for Community Behavioral Health Care
* New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services
* Supportive Housing Network of New York
* The Coalition for Behavioral Health

Glenn Liebman
CEO, MHANYS
194 Washington Avenue, Suite 415
Albany, N.Y. 12210

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