Proposal would create community mental health clinics across New York

Therapist sits next to reclining patient
Therapist sits next to reclining patient
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Proposal would create community mental health clinics across New York

The bill would also mental health professionals to operate in substance abuse clinics
November 27, 2019

Assemblyman Joseph Lentol has put forward a bill that would establish community clinics providing health care across New York state, WBFO reports. The bill would also allow mental health professionals to operate in substance abuse clinics, which currently cannot hire them.

The state relies on nonprofits, hospitals and local government to provide mental health support, funding or licensing to more than 2,500 such programs. More than 1.6 million New Yorkers faced serious psychological distress in 2015, according to data compiled by the University of Southern California. The same report noted that despite New York having a higher per capita number of mental health professionals than many other states, staffing shortages are still a problem, particularly upstate. And about 30% of those in New York City live in areas with a shortage of such professionals.

Mental health is an especially crucial issue for those in education. A new survey listed it as a top priority for the state’s public school superintendents. First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray also recently touted the city’s initiative announced in June to train educators to help students with social emotional learning – 650 teachers have taken part thus far. 

Lentol said he thinks the bill will be able to work through Medicaid. But ballooning costs associated with the health program are part of the reason why the state is facing a $6 billion budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year – and may make that approach a tough pill to swallow.

NYN Media reporter Kay Dervesh
Kay Dervishi
is a staff reporter at NYN Media.
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