Mental Health and Addictions Disorder advocates representing thousands of
people in our respective workforces have continued to fight to add funding
for the sector. Here is another article from yesterday about the issue.
Please continue your phone calls and meetings—they are working.

Behavioral Health Advocates Push for More Funding 

By Josefa Velasquez Politico March 23, 2017

ALBANY — While direct care workers have garnered most of the spotlight in
the Capitol this legislative session, behavioral health advocates are
telling lawmakers that their industry also needs a boost in funding.

“We’re looking for equity with the developmentally disabled providers and
are in discussion with the state as to what that means when applied to
behavioral health providers,” said Harvey Rosenthal, the executive director
of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation.

Direct care employers, those whose employees work with the elderly and
disabled, have been complaining that the increase in the minimum wage makes
it harder to recruit and retain workers if they can earn just as much in
the fast food industry or in a less labor-intensive job.

The Senate and Assembly included $45 million in funding in their one-house
budgets for direct care employees.

Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie last week said that the Legislature and Gov.
Andrew Cuomo’s office were in agreement that there should be more funding
for direct care workers.

Given that the work force for behavioral health is smaller, discussions
with the state over how much funding they’d like to see in the budget are
still ongoing, Rosenthal said.

“There’s a lot of anger and discouragement in [the] mental health provider
world because they feel like they work just as hard with the same kinds of
challenges,” he said. “We have a 35-percent vacancy rate because we can’t
afford to keep them,” he added.

At a meeting on mental hygiene in the budget earlier this week, Sen. Fred
Akshar suggested cutting down some of the projects proposed by the

“What I would suggest, if we’re looking for money, before we decide to
build a gondola in Syracuse or a bike trail from Canada to New York City or
put synchronized colored lights on all the bridges in New York City, I
would respectfully offer … that we take a hard look at that and remember
what our moral obligation is to the people in this great state,” the
Binghamton-area Republican said.

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