18 May 2021

Joint Public Hearing: Mental Health Crisis Services

Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor, Albany, NY 12247

Virtual Public Hearing 188 State Street, , Van Buren Hearing Room A, Legislative Office Building, 2nd Floor, , Albany, , NY, 12247

10:30 AM Archived Video

Senate Standing Committee on Mental Health
Senator Samra G. Brouk
and Assembly Standing Committee on Mental Health
Chair: Assembly Member Aileen M. Gunther
Public Hearing:  Mental Health Crisis Services
Place:  Online: https://www.nysenate.gov/events
Time: 10:30am
Contact: Alexia Holden, 518-860-4516
Media Contact: Ann Binstock, 415-810-7113

SUBJECT:      Mental Health Crisis Services

PURPOSE:     To receive testimony on New York’s mental health crisis service delivery system, as well as recommendations for policies for improving the response to mental health crises in the community

According to the National Council for Behavioral Health, drug overdoses and suicides have overtaken traffic accidents as the two leading causes of death among young Americans ages 25-44. Additionally, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention stated that suicide is the 12th leading cause of death in New York. In 2020, for every 100,000 New Yorkers, approximately 8 people lose their life to suicide; it is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34 years old; and for individuals between the ages of 35 and 54, suicide is the fourth leading cause of death.

Over the past several years, New York State has made an effort to expand mental health crisis services, which includes short term crisis residences, crisis respite services, mobile crisis teams, and crisis intervention training for law enforcement officers. In this year’s enacted budget, the legislature authorized the establishment of crisis stabilization centers, to divert individuals experiencing or at risk of a mental health crisis away from hospitalization.

Additionally, there has been national interest to shift away from police led responses for people experiencing a mental health crisis in their community and instead dispatch trained mental health professionals, that would attempt to de-escalate, stabilize, or transport an individual to the appropriate level of behavioral health care.

Also, in 2020, the federal government enacted the National Suicide Prevention Hotline Improvement Act, which established a national suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis hotline. This new “988” hotline is expected to be implemented nationwide by July 2022 and will aim to create a community crisis response system for suicide prevention and mental health crisis services equivalent to what “911” is for medical, fire and public safety emergencies.

This hearing will provide the committees an opportunity to receive testimony on New York’s current mental health crisis service delivery system, examine the effectiveness of other mental health crisis service models, and consider policies and other initiatives which aim to improve the response to mental health crises and the need for resources to help enhance the delivery mental health crisis services in New York State.

Persons invited to present pertinent testimony to the Committees at the above hearing should complete and return the enclosed reply form by Monday, May 17th, 2021. It is important that the reply form be fully completed and returned so that persons may be notified of means by which to testify and/or in the event of emergency postponement or cancellation.

Oral testimony will be limited to 5 minutes’ duration.  In preparing the order of witnesses, the Committees will attempt to accommodate individual requests to speak at particular times in view of special circumstances.  These requests should be made on the attached reply form or communicated to Committee staff as early as possible. 

Attendees and participants at any legislative public hearing should be aware that these proceedings are video recorded. Their likenesses may be included in any video coverage shown on television or the internet. 

In order to further publicize these hearings, please inform interested parties and organizations of the Committee’s interest in hearing testimony from all sources.

In order to meet the needs of those who may have a disability, the Assembly, in accordance with its policy of non-discrimination on the basis of disability, as well as the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), has made its facilities and services available to all individuals with disabilities.  For individuals with disabilities, accommodations will be provided, upon reasonable request, to afford such individuals access and admission to Assembly facilities and activities.

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