It can no longer be pushed aside.
New York State is in a mental health crisis. It has been building for decades and has escalated rapidly since the outbreak of the pandemic, resulting in a massive increase in mental disorders of all kinds, from anxiety to obsessive-compulsive/compulsive to severe mental illness. . From March 2020 to date, more than one in her three New Yorkers mental health knows someone seeking or receiving her care.
Top state leaders are finally paying serious attention.
Mental health was at the center of Gov. Kathy Hochol’s statewide speech on Tuesday. In it, she will restore her 1,000 psychiatric hospital beds across New York and add about 50 teams of clinicians and counselors who can provide outpatient services to people with severe mental illness statewide. announced a $1 billion initiative.
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Attorney General Letitia James will be at the library in downtown Buffalo this week (Wednesday, January 18, 11:00 a.m.) for hearings about this crisis. She hears from local medical advocates and others about how hopeless the situation is. Members of the public, advocacy groups and health care providers are encouraged to attend and testify.
Insights and action plans from James’ listening tour (this is the second public hearing) help Hochul expand on the inadequate mental health care resources available in western New York and elsewhere in the state. It should reinforce and provide information on what to do.
Mental health is a national issue, but the citizens of Buffalo are forgiven for thinking they were chosen by the gods of stress for special attention: a racist massacre that killed 10 residents. The city is coming out of months of bad luck, including a historic blizzard that killed at least 44 people and the shocking collapse of Buffalo Bills player Dummer Hamlin during a “Monday Night Football” game. rice field. Hamlin, who is now back in Buffalo, appears to be on the road to recovery.
Aside from the specific situations that caused undue anxiety and stress, New York’s ability to deal with mental illness is already impaired by factors such as:
• Since 2014, one-third of psychiatric beds for children in New York have been lost. Outpatient and community-based mental health services that were meant to replace inpatient psychiatric care are underfunded and fail to hire or retain enough qualified personnel. staff. This is why the immediate addition of new beds is a key component of the new plan.
• Private insurers offer mental health providers lower premiums, even though state and federal law mandates health insurance plans that cover mental health and substance use disorder treatment in the same way as physical health treatment. and notorious for not covering preventive care. As such, Hochul wants to close a critical gap in such coverage and ban its denial.
• Hospitals are legally required to diagnose and stabilize patients who come to emergency rooms, but emergency rooms across the state are increasingly unable to meet demand. . Buffalo’s single behavioral health emergency room at Erie County Medical Center was recently reported to be overcrowded and overwhelmed with days of waiting for psychiatric evaluations.
In addition to those already cited, Hochul’s new plan will add 12 mental health emergency centers statewide to ease pressure on hospitals. Triple the number of community action centers offering walk-in services from 13 to 39. Add 3,500 housing units to serve those in crisis and those in recovery. This will increase Medicaid payment rates for school-based clinics. Introduces a requirement to immediately connect a high-need patient to a wraparound service, bridging the often-occurring gap between emergency visits and follow-up her care.
Health experts across the state have expressed optimism, especially regarding the commission that studies issues such as staffing issues within the industry. Educational professionals also have a need for mental health counselors in every school, mental health first aid training for everyone who works in schools, and at best – every district has a dedicated family support center. After the one-time cash infusion is exhausted, there are still annual costs.
“You can’t mistake a takeoff for a landing,” Cornell warned, adding that sustaining new efforts over the decades will be important.
What’s missing from Ho-chul’s plan? It’s probably too early to say. Unlike many other illnesses, mental illness is rarely cured and its symptoms rarely go away completely.
It would be one thing if psychotic New Yorkers could get urgent care in a timely manner. Ten years later, most of these people still received effective follow-up care, maintained safe living conditions, and Being able to engage in various types of meaningful work and enjoy appropriate social interactions is a good measure of success.
we are not there yet. But now there is new hope.
Here are three resources for those in immediate need.
• Crisis Services, 716-834-3131, crisisservices.org: Crisis Services is a well-established resource that includes a 24/7 hotline. This help is always free.
• Mental Health Advocates of WNY, 716-886-1242, mhawny.org: Nonclinical services that promote mental health and help navigate the mental health delivery system.
• Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: Dial/Text 998
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