Lawyers urge Governor Hochul to provide immediate mental health funding

ALBANY, NY (NEWS10) – Lawyers for people with mental illness and substance abuse call on Governor Kathy Hochul to provide immediate executive budget funds for her care systems. They say their existing industry crisis has worsened due to the pandemic.

Behavioral Health Advocates (BHA) hosted a Zoom rally Tuesday with speakers including Senator Pete Harckham and Coalition for Behavioral Health president Amy Dorin.

They called on Governor Hochul to include a 5.4% cost of living adjustment and $ 500 million investment in labor, services and assistance in her proposal for the budget for SFY 2022-23.

“The pandemic also highlighted and exacerbated what you knew all along: the divestment into the behavioral health sector,” Senator Harckham told others on the call. “In the past decade of flat budgets, cuts, clawbacks and withholds during the pandemic, we are at a tipping point in financial bankruptcy.”

Kim Kaiser of Families Together, a group that represents people with behavioral children, said the mental health system was already facing problems. Kaiser has seen firsthand how the addition of a pandemic has made life so much harder for those in need of services.

“My experience has spoken to several families who are exorbitantly long on waiting lists when they have children who go to and from the emergency room because of crises, suicidality, or overdose,” she explained of the type of behavioral problems and incapacity To get the services they need. “

Kaiser said the funding she and other proponents want Governor Hochul to pour into the budget would address a worker burnout problem that plagues the behavioral health industry.

“Underpaid people who have to worry about their own bills, have their own food insecurity, and may also be struggling with their own behavioral problems need employer support to move forward with this work,” Kaiser said.

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