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Mental Health Update

May 24, 2021
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 5/24/21 – Support for Legislation that will continue to allow Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Psychoanalysts to Diagnose and Develop Treatment Plans

Listed below is a very powerful call to arms from MHANYS Board Chair and CEO of Northern Rivers Family Services, Bill Gettman, urging support for a bill that will continue to allow Licensed Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Psychoanalysts to diagnose and develop treatment plans for individuals that need mental health services. 

We frequently speak of the workforce crisis we face in mental health. Not allowing these individuals the ability to diagnose and develop treatment plans will just make an existing crisis even worse.

Please urge support for this legislation.  Contact information is listed below

Dear Friends:

We interrupt our regularly scheduled monthly collection of news and highlights about our programs and services to tell you that there’s danger on the horizon. You already know that one of the biggest challenges we face is the need for more qualified mental health providers able to provide critical services to people in need.

But thanks to bureaucratic infighting and the lack of understanding at the state level of the way mental health professionals are educated and prepared to work with clients, it may soon be even harder for people to access critical mental health resources, as fewer and fewer mental health professionals will be available to provide services, thereby creating a further crisis in obtaining vital services.

In a few weeks, Licensed Mental Health Counselors (LMHCs), Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs)  and licensed psychoanalysts (LP) entering the field from now on, among others, will not be allowed diagnose patients and develop treatment plans for patients who need mental health services. This would create devastating slowdowns in treatment for tens of thousands of clients, as it will discourage many from entering the field, and have terrible impacts on community mental health.

This nightmare will become a reality if we do nothing. You can help stop this catastrophic action.

According to a recent CDC survey, 42% of respondents reported anxiety or depression symptoms, an increase of over 200% from the 2019 average. Yet New York State is about to make it even harder for trained, qualified, experienced professionals to help those in need. For example, we recently heard from a community member who just moved here from California. They were a state-certified Marriage and Family Therapist with extensive practical and supervisory experience; yet while they were able to practice and bill Medicaid in California, they are not allowed to do so in New York. This person’s ability to practice is limited, and the community suffers as a result. It’s time for a change.

Assemblymember Harry Bronson and Senator Samra Brouk have introduced bills in their respective legislative bodies to standardize the requirements for licensure, authorize trained staff to diagnose and develop assessment-based treatment plans, and provide workforce flexibility to deal with critical needs. We’re asking everyone to call or email their NYS Senators and Assembly members and urge them to support the following bills:

NYS Senate: Support S.5301-A by Senator Brouk. Find your NYS Senator

NYS Assembly: Support A.6008-A by Assembly member Bronson. Find your NYS Assembly member

Please take a moment out of your day today and make the calls or send the emails. Our community is depending on you.