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Mental Health Update

January 21, 2020
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 1/21/20 – Top of the Trees Look at Mental Health Budget

We are appreciative of our collaboration with our colleague Harvey Rosenthal at NYAPRS in helping to provide a brief look at budget before providing greater detail in the next few days.

Budget Impact to Mental Health
While we are still analyzing the budget including the impact to Medicaid which is the prime driver of funding for mental health, there are still some local assistance funding that has been included in this year’s proposed budget.

Given the budget deficit, we were concerned that we would have to fight any inappropriately targeted cuts to community mental health programs. We are pleased that there are limited proposed funding cuts in our sector. Also, in a difficult budget year, we are appreciative of the State’s commitment to housing and fulfilling the agreement to the direct care workforce.

That said we all know that there is a great need out there to fund mental health through more robust programming, housing, workforce and prevention. We will continue to advocate for those needs.


What Is In the Budget?

$20 Million Increase in Funding to Provide Rate Increases:

Considering that this is a difficult budget year,  we are very appreciative of the Governor’s commitment of twenty million dollars to existing mental health housing. Many of our  members provide community based housing and the existing funding does not come close to meeting the great need. The investment by the State will hopefully begin to provide rate increases that will help us recruit and retain quality staff.

MHANYS is part of the Bring it Home Coalition dedicated to the grass roots level support for housing, led by our colleagues at ACL, Toni Lasicki and Doug Cooper.

State Retains Funding Commitment for Workforce in Budget:
The State continues their commitment to the agreement reached at the end of last year’s budget to provide a 2% increase for the direct care workforce in the 100, 200 and 300 series in the CFR reporting documents for provider agencies in Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Addiction Services.

We are appreciative of the Governor’s commitment to the workforce, but we need to insure the investment of additional funding to insure that the State fully commits to the entire nonprofit sector in our call for #3for#5.

The #3for#5 campaign calls for a three percent increase every year for the next five years for the entire human services sector, not specific to workforce.  In an unprecedented movement to highlight the importance of this investment, the entire human services sector is speaking with one collective, loud and passionate voice for this funding. By withholding the funding in the budget for the last decade, the sector has lost over a billion dollars that could have gone to services and support for millions of New Yorkers in greatest need.

Community Reinvestment:
Unfortunately, while the concept of reinvestment continues, there were no proposed bed closures in the budget that would add to the over $100 million in community support services.

This again calls for the need for hospital closures. Why does New York continue to have more than double the amount of psychiatric hospitals than any State in the country and why does a disproportionate share of the State’s funding go to a few thousand people in the State hospitals as opposed to the almost 800,000 people in the community public mental health system?

Public Awareness:
In the State of the State, the Governor committed to a public awareness campaign around veterans and mental health.

Funding for Mental Health in Schools:
We have not yet received confirmation if there is funding in this year’s budget related to mental health in schools and the School Resource Center. With the growing number of young people with mental health related issues, it is more important than ever to continue the commitment to providing funding for mental health education in schools.


What is Not in the Budget? 

Just to reiterate the importance of that ask. We must all raise our voices to make this happen this year.

Mental Health First Aid:
We are disappointed that the State has not made a full commitment to the top literacy tool in mental health that has provided trainings to over two and a half million people across the country.

Last year, Senator Carlucci committed one hundred thousand dollars in the budget to continue funding for this important program. We will continue to advocate with Senator Carlucci and his colleagues in the legislature for funding for this program dedicated to help respond to someone in a mental health emergency and to respond to the community needs for better education about mental health

Dwyer Program Funding:
We are very appreciative of the acknowledgement in the budget for a public awareness campaign for veterans and mental health, we continue to support funding for the  Joseph Dwyer veterans peer mental health programs.

The Dwyer funding has been integral to the commitment to Veterans and mental health. We urge funding support for this program.

Crisis Intervention Teams:
The evidenced based CIT teams have proven effective across the State in bringing together police departments, families and peers to provide protocols on how to respond to a  mental health emergency.  The Legislature has made it a priority to fund these programs across all counties. We urge continued support.