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Mental Health Update

May 8, 2020
Mental Health Update


MHANYS continues are advocacy on two fronts:

  1. Support federal funding for States to help mitigate proposed disastrous cuts at the State level.  In New York, we are facing an over $15 billion deficit. We are doing everything we can to advocate for funds for New York. In addition, we are calling for federal funds directly for community mental health services.
  2. If there is no additional federal funding coming forward for the States, we are urging Governor Cuomo to hold harmless any cuts to mental health. The cost and impact to mental health services during COVID—19 is devastating.

Listed below is an article from yesterday’s Spectrum News regarding the impact of mental health cuts….In addition, we have again attached the letter we sent to Governor Cuomo urging him not to cut mental health funding.

Stay safe,


Federal Funding Sought For Mental Health Care

PUBLISHED 12:44 PM ET MAY. 07, 2020

Rep. Elise Stefanik in a letter sent this week to top House lawmakers called for federal funding that would support mental health care resources and suicide prevention.

Stefanik in the letter urges $61 million for funding the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In a separate letter, the North Country Republican also called for mental health needs of front line health care workers who are treating COVID-19 patients.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has presented numerous challenges not only for our essential healthcare workers, but for many people struggling with mental health issues,” Stefanik said in a statement. “It is imperative that we provide adequate resources and funding in any forthcoming legislative packages to support suicide prevention and help our communities address this crisis on all fronts. The provisions and funding outlined in these two letters will ensure struggling individuals have access to the resources they need. I will continue to advocate for initiatives like these in order to help our North Country communities respond to and recover from this crisis.”

At the state level, meanwhile, mental health advocates urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to not cut services and funding. Glenn Liebman, the CEO of the Mental Health Association of New York State, wrote in a letter to the governor that funding from the federal government will be key. 

“Without additional federal funding, we are very concerned about what this will mean for all New Yorkers,” he wrote. “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.”

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,

Glenn Liebman

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.