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Mental Health Update

November 30, 2020
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 11/30/20 – Governor Cuomo Signs Trauma Informed Advisory Council Bill for Frontline Workers

Over the weekend, Governor Cuomo signed a bill that created an Advisory Council  for the Trauma Informed Needs of Frontline Workers.

This is legislation that MHANYS has been working on this session with the leadership of the Mental Hygiene Committees in the Legislature. We want to thank Assembly Mental Hygiene Chair Aileen Gunther and her staff for introducing the bill and recognizing the importance of providing a response to the long term traumatic impact of COVID to frontline workers.

We also are very appreciative of the support of Senate Mental Hygiene Chair David Carlucci as well as the legislative support of members in both houses

We also thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership in signing the bill and recognizing the long term impact of trauma to frontline workers. MHANYS is also very appreciative of Commissioner Sullivan and the Office of Mental Health for their support and working with all of the stakeholders around addressing technical concerns.

One of the major reasons that the bill was introduced was because of the combined efforts of MHANYS Director of Family Engagement Deb Faust and MHANYS Public Policy Director, John Richter, who were very engaged with other trauma informed experts and noted the disconnect between the long term trauma impact related to COVID  and the limited resources available to frontline workers.

People were well aware of the immediate COVID physical health impact to our heroic front line workers but there was little discussion about the long term traumatic impact of COVID to those on the frontlines.  By working with some of the major trauma informed groups across New York, Deb and John helped to craft a bill that would bring together the needs of frontline workers and experts around trauma informed services.

We look forward to the creation of the Advisory Council and the recommendations that will come forward as a result of the Legislation.

APPROVAL MEMORANDUM – No. 17 Chapter 295

      MEMORANDUM filed with Assembly Bill Number 10629-A, entitled:

    “AN ACT to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to establishing

        the frontline workers trauma informed care advisory council”


  This bill would create an advisory council to build on the work of the New  York  State Office of Mental Health in the critical arena of trauma informed care for frontline workers. The public  health  victories  that New  York has accomplished as a state against COVID-19 are owed in large part to the brave men and women that continued going to work serving the public every day during the global pandemic.  Trauma  informed  care  is important  for  many  individuals,  but  it is undeniable that frontline workers have been heavily impacted by the stress  of  doing  an  already challenging  job  during  this  particular time in history. The advisory council will focus on recommendations and resources that  are  necessary to serve frontline workers in the most effective way.

  However,  there are technical issues with the bill as written, includ- ing an unattainable timeframe for a final report  to  be  given  to  the Legislature  by  December  1,  2020.  The Legislature has agreed to pass legislation in the upcoming session to correct some of  these  technical issues. On that basis, this bill is approved.

  This bill is approved.                      (signed) ANDREW M. CUOMO