One of our top priorities post budget is the 988 Legislation.  It is part of MHANYS strategy around the continuum with Mobile Crisis Teams and Crisis Stabilization Centers.

Issue:

In July of 2022, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline will be changed to 988 across the country. Much like 911 serves as an emergency response for people in crisis, 988 will serve a similar function for people in a behavioral health crisis.  Trained individuals will be answering the 988 line. In New York, there is great attention being paid to crisis services across the continuum. 988 will serve as the impetus for change along with mobile crisis teams and crisis stabilization centers. 

Why We Need a Bill this Year?

We strongly support a 988 bill this year because it will take a lot of time and effort to appropriately prepare for this new crisis response. This proposed legislation helps provide that framework and is very responsive to the roles of peers and families as part of the crisis response.  Issues of funding have garnered a great deal of attention because the proposal involves a tax on phone lines.  The tax is incredibly small and shouldn’t dissuade the law from happening (do most people even know there is a phone tax for 911?).  The legislature proposes a study be provided by the State to identify funding solutions before the end of the year (in time for next year’s budget).

Where we are with bill passage?

The Senate is about to pass the bill. Great credit to the leadership of Senator Brouk in making this one of her top priorities this session.

Currently, the bill is in the Assembly Rules Committee. We are awaiting to hear if it gets reported out.  We know that Assemblymember Gunther is pushing hard on this and we are very hopeful of bill passage. 

Conclusion:

While the bill does not include a full phased implementation including the funding piece, it is an important step forward in the movement around a responsive crisis service system. We will need all of your support to get this signed by the Governor.

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

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