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Mental Health Update

July 7, 2020
Mental Health Update

MH Update – 7/7/20 -Media Updates in Response to NYS 20% Withhold of Behavioral Health Spending to Counties

Earlier this week, Assemblymember Gunther, Andrea Smyth of the NYS Council of Children’s Behavioral Health and I had an opportunity to speak with Dan Clark at WMHT’s New York NOW about the impact to mental health during COVID.  The interview was taped before we received news of the State’s twenty percent withhold to counties in regard to behavioral health funding.  The link to the interview is attached.

See the interview at New York NOW


As we have said for months, the State is facing an economic crisis the likes of which we have never seen before, but this economic crisis is also a behavioral health crisis. A withholding to counties of twenty percent of behavioral health funding in this moment in time just exacerbates the pain to individuals and their loved ones when they are already dealing with the criplling anxiety, depression and trauma of COVID.  The reality is that this will cost the State even more in the end when people lose services in the community and end up in emergency rooms, correctional settings and other more expensive institutional placements.

All roads lead to the federal government. We have heard conjecture about the fourth stimulus package for months. In two weeks, the Senate will be back in session and we have to raise our voices to make sure that there is adequate unrestricted federal assistance to enable State governments to fund critical and necessary services. Without it, the devastation to New York’s Mental Health System will be felt through increased homelessness, incarceration, suicide completions and increases in overdose deaths.

I will be discussing this tonight on Spectrum News with Nick Reisman at


Mental Health Crisis, Impact on Children, Cuomo’s Power

New York Now July 3, 2020

On this week’s edition of New York NOW, experts warn of a national mental health crisis in the wake of COVID-19, particularly in New York, where the disease has outpaced other states. Is New York ready to address a widespread demand in mental health services? Stakeholders say no.

We’ll speak with Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther, the chair of the Assembly Mental Health Committee, and Glenn Liebman from the Mental Health Association in New York State about where the state stands, and what’s expected in the coming months.

Andrea Smyth from the  talks about how this is all affecting children, and how cuts from the state could affect mental health services for kids — both in schools and in the community.