The Statewide Behavioral Health advocates are urging support from the Legislature for an additional $500 million for behavioral health in this year’s upcoming budget. Governor Hochul’s budget gave us a powerful start with the proposed 5.4% COLA increase, increased funding for mental health housing, funding for crisis services, veterans mental health, retention bonuses for staff and much more.
However, as we all know, this only begins to move the ship forward. Much more needs to be done. In 11 of the past 14 years, the Statutory COLA for our community was taken out of the budget or was decreased from the committed funding. According to calculations, well over $500 million was lost to our community. With that funding, we would have had less deaths of despair from overdose and suicide completion, less incarceration and homelessness for those with behavioral health issues, shorter waiting lists for services and more funding to sustain and enhance the already overworked and underpaid workforce.
We can continue the sea change in the budget by providing $500 million. The way this funding can be added as a permanent percentage increase across all Mental Health and OASAS contracted agencies. We have strong advocates in the Legislature for our needs and we urge their continued persistence in fighting for this additional funding.
We will need our grassroots support to come out loud and clear. Please join MHANYS Legislative Day on Wednesday, March 9th from 10—12 followed by a virtual rally at 12. You can register at Register