COVID—19 has pushed New York and the entire nation into a mental health crisis.
Grief, isolation, job loss and the other repercussion of this pandemic has resulted in high levels of depression, anxiety suicide completion, substance use and long- term trauma.
Governor Cuomo has talked very openly about the need for mental health services during this time of crisis. Without federal stimulus funding, the State could face a devastating financial hit across all sectors.
We have enclosed a letter to the Governor urging him to hold mental health funding harmless during COVID-19. Any cut to mental health funding will have a draconian effect across the State. A weakened mental health system will leave New Yorkers with greater anxiety and trauma. To maintain New York Tough, we need to keep New York’s Mental Health Funding Strong.
May 5, 2020
The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224
Dear Governor Cuomo:
All of the members of the Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc. (MHANYS) are inspired when you talk about New York Tough. The hallmark of our work at MHANYS and that of our members is to embody your message by being smart, disciplined, unified and loving to the well over a quarter of a million New Yorkers we serve directly as well as the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for who we provide trainings, educational resources and technical assistance.
We also recognize that COVID-19 does not just have a physical impact, it also has a very significant mental health impact through isolation and job loss. This results in increased trauma, anxiety, depression and other behavioral health issues like increased substance use, problem gambling and domestic violence. In addition, the death, loss and bereavement of loved ones has both serious short and long term mental health consequences.
As you said at your May 1st briefing, COVID-19 has ‘caused serious mental health issues. You have anxiety, depression, insomnia, loneliness and feeling of isolation…Half of all Americans said that their mental health has been negatively impacted. Don’t underestimate the stress of the situation.’
We are appreciative of how hard you are fighting for resources for New York through the federal government. Our members too have worked very hard to advocate with Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and the rest of our congressional delegation to try to insure more funding for New York State.
Without additional federal funding, we are very concerned about what this will mean for all New Yorkers. The State’s updated financial plan identifies the devastation of the cuts. We will all be dramatically impacted and the pain of lost and delayed services will be unmistakable.
You have the unenviable Constitutional responsibility to balance the State’s finances. However, that given the direct impact of COVID-19 to mental health services, we urge you to hold mental health funding harmless from cuts.
Cuts would come at the worst possible time for New Yorkers with serious mental health needs. Cuts would result in the closing of supported housing programs throughout the State, children’s mental health programs, elimination of funding for mobile crisis teams, homeless services programs, peer services, family services, suicide prevention programs, medication assistance, clinics, care management and so many of the other community programs that make up the spectrum of behavioral services including addiction disorders.
Our members exemplify New York Tough. We rise up during a crisis, as we have shown during 9/11, Super Storm Sandy, and now with COVID—19. Not only were we in the middle of being part of the essential workforce during these crises but we also dealt with the long range trauma that impacted so many people—numbers that will staggering after COVID-19. For both today and the future, a cut to mental health funding will have dire consequences.
Our members will offer services and supports wherever we can be helpful. We love our great State and will do whatever is necessary to support our fellow New Yorkers.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
The following is a list of all of our member agencies:
- Allegany County Mental Health Association
- Association for Mental Health and Wellness (Suffolk County)
- Community Connections of Franklin County
- Mental Health Advocates of Western New York
- MHA in Chautauqua County
- MHA in Essex County, Inc.
- MHA in Fulton & Montgomery Counties
- MHA in Jefferson County, Inc.
- MHA in New York State, Inc.
- MHA in Niagara County
- MHA in Orange County
- MHA in Putnam County
- MHA in Tompkins County
- MHA in Ulster County
- MHA of Columbia-Greene Counties, Inc.
- MHA of Cortland County
- MHA of Dutchess County
- MHA of Genesee & Orleans Counties
- MHA of Nassau County
- MHA of Rochester/Monroe Counties, Inc.
- MHA of Rockland County, Inc.
- MHA of the Southern Tier, Inc.
- MHA of Westchester
- Schuyler County Mental Health Association
- Vibrant Emotional Health (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island)
- Warren-Washington Association for Mental Health, Inc.
Our members serve 52 counties in New York State.