NYS investment into mental health care excites CNY lawmakers: 'The need is only growing'

Originally published in CNY Central

New York Governor, Kathy Hochul gave her state of the state address detailing some of the important issues she plans to invest in for her term as governor. She addressed issues such as crime, inflation, clean energy, bail reform, and mental health.

NY-50th District Senator John Mannion said the issues the governor addressed were exactly what he was hoping for.

Sen. Mannion said, "The mental health need is only growing so, we have to address it now in the hopes that we can get in front of it and if we don't address it now that problem is going to persist and impact many other systems for a long period of time."

Gov. Kathy Hochul speaks during her State of the State address, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. (Image courtesy of New York State Governor's Office)

Governor Hochul’s announced a $1 billion plan that will increase capacity for inpatient psychiatric treatment by 1,000 beds, bringing 850 psychiatric beds in hospitals back online, and creating more supportive housing units, according to the governor's office. The plan also calls for "systemic accountability for mental health admissions and discharges," as well as an expansion of outpatient services, and insurance coverage.

"Over the last decade, we lost psychiatric beds. We have fewer today than we've had before and this is highly problematic," the senator stated. " People cannot get the services that they need. They can't get the diagnosis that they need," adding "People are not only not getting care, the ones that are sometimes aren't getting appropriate care."

These proposals, over time, will reflect more than $1 billion in investment in mental health.

Senior Vice President of Acute Operations, St. Joseph’s Health, Meredith Price wrote in a statement:

“As one of the largest providers of mental and behavioral health services in the region, we are thrilled to see this portfolio of services receive the attention it deserves. Now more than ever, we have seen firsthand the need to continue this focus on expanding access and supporting providers so they can support our communities. It is essential that support be provided to continue the availability of critical programs such as CPEP (Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program) and other outpatient programs including therapy and counseling. Proposals such as re-opening psychiatric hospital beds and expanding emergency psychiatric services must also be accompanied by sustainable payment rates so these programs can continue to be viable. We look forward to learning more about these proposals and again thank the Governor and her administration for finally placing these programs front and center of New York’s policy priorities.”

Senator Mannion said this mental health investment is needed for both adults and children and says democrats and republicans are on board with that assessment.

"In Central New York, we have the institutions poised to expand some of them are operating under capacity."

Before the governor's address, this has been a priority for many school districts like Fayetteville Manlius. The school district just held a meeting on Monday to go over their mental health plans for the future.