For Immediate Release
Location: LCA Press Room, (130) Legislative Office Building Albany
February 12th at Noon
Contact: Glenn Liebman, Mental Health Association in New York State (MHANYS)
The Big Reveal: New York State First in the Nation to Introduce Mental Health Public Awareness License Plate
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) has just released new Mental Health Public Awareness License Plates. This innovation is the first of its kind in the United States and continues New York’s historic commitment to leading the fight against the stigma of mental illness.
In 2015 New York passed legislation that included mental health public awareness as a charitable checkoff on income tax forms. 2016 saw legislation passed mandating mental health instruction in schools and in 2017 Mental Health Public Awareness License Plate Bill was signed into law.
Senate Bill Sponsor and Mental Hygiene Chair, Senator Robert Ortt said, “I am proud to have sponsored and passed legislation creating a license plate that will help change the stigma surrounding mental illness. Mental illness affects men and women of all social and economic backgrounds and it is crucial we inform the public about the importance of recognizing and understanding mental illness. The creation of these license plates is just one way we can help raise awareness about an issue that impacts individuals from all walks of life.”
Assembly Bill Sponsor and Mental Hygiene Chair, Assembly member Aileen Gunther said, “The Mental Health Awareness License Plate bill is just another in a series of efforts to end the stigma of mental illness. One in four people in New York and across the country have a mental health related issue yet only a small percentage of people ever get services. The license plate will help raise awareness and diminish the discrimination against people with mental illness. It is a victory for all New Yorkers.”
Governor Cuomo showed his strong support of the legislation by signing the bill into law. New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner, Dr. Ann Sullivan said of the legislation, “Raising awareness and reducing the stigma of mental illness is crucial to facilitating treatment. Recovery from mental illness is possible. We applaud the Mental Health Association in New York State’s (MHANYS) efforts to increase awareness and make recovery a reality.”
The primary reason that two out of every three people who need mental health services do not receive the needed services is because of the stigma of the illness.
According to Glenn Liebman, the CEO of MHANYS and the lead group in fighting for this legislation, “The stigma of mental illness has caused countless New Yorkers to hide in the shadows and not take advantage of mental health services. In this day and age, we should be able to shun stereotypes about people with mental illness being violent. As with diabetes and heart disease, mental health issues can be properly treated with community supports and appropriate medications and services. There should be no shame in this illness. We commend Governor Cuomo, Legislative Chairs Assembly member Gunther and Senator Ortt and the entire legislature for helping New York lead the charge against the discrimination of people with mental health related issues.”
For a PDF of the above press release, click here.
For more information on the License Plate Bill, check out page 5 of Mental Health Weekly.