We thank Assemblymember Gunther for her leadership in introducing a bill that would create a trauma-informed task force comprised of leading experts in the field. We are in an environment that is unprecedented in the traumatic impact to our workforce. Our brave frontline workers have been under siege from COVID-19. Both the short and long term traumatic impact will be felt through increased anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, substance use and other behavioral health issues. This advisory council comprised of both state agencies and community experts will help provide resources and support and develop a statewide trauma informed plan for those in greatest need.
We will be advocating for additional support in both houses
In addition to Assembly member Gunther and her staff, we also want to acknowledge the internal work of MHANYS Director of Family Engagement Deb Faust and Public Policy Director John Richter for helping to inform the process through their dedicated efforts.
RULES COM (Request of Gunther)
Add §7.48, Ment Hyg L
Establishes the frontline workers trauma informed care advisory council to connect frontline workers impacted by COVID-19 to evidenced-based trauma-informed support resources and learning opportunities.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 10629 IN ASSEMBLY June 10, 2020 ___________
Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES — (at request of M. of A. Gunther) — read once and referred to the Committee on Mental Health
AN ACT to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to establishing the frontline workers trauma informed care advisory council
The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows: 1 Section 1. The mental hygiene law is amended by adding a new section
2 7.48 to read as follows:
3 § 7.48 Frontline workers trauma informed care advisory council.
4 (a) The commissioner shall establish the frontline workers trauma
5 informed care advisory council within the office. The council shall
6 consist of, at a minimum, the commissioner or his or her designee; the
7 commissioner of the department of health or his or her designee; the
8 commissioner of aging or his or her designee; the commissioner of the
9 office for people with developmental disabilities or his or her desig-
10 nee; the commissioner of the office for addiction services and supports
11 or his or her designee; the commissioner of the department of
12 corrections and community supervision; and twenty-one additional members
13 of which seven shall be appointed by the governor, six shall be
14 appointed by the speaker of the assembly, six shall appointed by the
15 temporary president of the senate, and one each shall be appointed by
16 the minority leader of the assembly and the senate. Each appointed
17 member shall be a representative of one of the following: (1) behav-
18 ioral health advocacy organizations; (2) health care provider organiza-
19 tions; (3) employee organizations representing nurses, doctors, and
20 other frontline workers; (4) human services organizations; (5) law
21 enforcement agencies; (6) individuals who have expertise in fields of
22 discipline related to trauma informed care; and any other group, associ-
23 ation, organization, or individual deemed appropriate by the commission-
24 er. For purposes of this section, frontline workers shall include, but
25 shall not be limited to, healthcare workers, first responders, direct
26 care workers, public safety workers, transportation workers, food
27 service workers and others who have been exposed to trauma associated
EXPLANATION–Matter in italics (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD16681-01-0 A. 10629 2
1 with the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic while in the line of
3 (b) Council members shall receive no compensation for their services
4 as members of the council, but shall be reimbursed for actual and neces-
5 sary expenses incurred in the performance of their duties. The members
6 of the council shall choose one member of the council to be a chair-
7 person and one member to be co-chairperson.
8 (c) The council shall be established within thirty days of the effec-
9 tive date of this section.
10 (d) The council shall:
11 (1) Identify evidence-based tools to track the impact of COVID-19
12 associated collective trauma and the needs of frontline workers;
13 (2) Identify or develop training opportunities for organizations that
14 employ frontline workers on how to support the mental health and well-
15 ness of their impacted employees;
16 (3) Identify evidenced-based trauma-informed support resources and
17 learning opportunities for frontline workers;
18 (4) Identify or develop a mechanism to inform and refer impacted
19 frontline workers experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19 to
20 behavioral health services and supports;
21 (5) Consult with any organization, government entity, agency, or
22 person that the council determines may be able to provide information
23 and expertise on the development and implementation of trauma informed
24 care for frontline workers; and
25 (6) Submit a report to the governor, the speaker of the assembly, and
26 the temporary president of the senate by December first, two thousand
27 twenty on the duties described in this section, including recommenda-
28 tions to effectively implement any initiative identified or developed by
29 the workgroup and included in its report.
30 (e) To the extent federal funds are available, grants shall be made
31 available to entities that employ frontline workers or other organiza-
32 tions with relevant experience, for the sole purpose of providing
33 support and implementing strategies or initiatives identified by the
34 frontline workers trauma informed care workgroup for their workforce.
35 § 2. This act shall take effect immediately.
NEW YORK STATE ASSEMBLY
MEMORANDUM IN SUPPORT OF LEGISLATION
submitted in accordance with Assembly Rule III, Sec 1(f)
BILL NUMBER: A10629
SPONSOR: Rules (Gunther)
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the mental hygiene law, in relation to establishing thefrontline workers trauma informed care advisory council
PURPOSE: To establish an advisory council within the Office of Mental Health that would ensure the trauma related behavioral health needs of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic are met
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: Section 1 adds a new section 7.48 to the Mental Hygiene Law to establish the parameters of the Frontline Workers Trauma Informed Care Advisory Council within the Office of Mental Health. The council shall issue are port to the Legislature no later than December 1, 2020. Section 2 establishes the effective date.
JUSTIFICATION: Collective trauma is a psychological trauma experienced by a group of people of any size, up to and including an entire society in response to a mass traumatizing event. Mental health researchers are already anticipating that there will be collective trauma associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. In the broadest sense, this collective trauma will be experienced globally, but more specifically, it will be experienced disproportionately by certain subgroups of people exposed more directly to the impact of the pandemic, such as frontline workers. Anticipating the mental health needs of these workers is essential for their own personal well-being and for those individuals who rely on their vital care. At this time, it is uncertain how long this pandemic will last or how long it will be before some sense of normalcy is restored. It is critical, however, to plan now for mental health interventions to be put in place in anticipation of the emotional and psychological needs of these frontline workers. Based on our knowledge of trauma, and by extension collective trauma, we can anticipate that many of these individuals will experience Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety, depression and substance use disorders. The impact of these disorders will include absenteeism, disability and unemployment, which can compound health care and mental health care access issues. This advisory council will ensure that trauma related behavioral health needs of essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic are met.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New Bill
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: None to state
EFFECTIVE DATE:This act shall take effect immediately.