NEW YORK (PIX11) — With more than 3,200 New Yorkers struggling with severe mental illness living on streets and subways, Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a $1 billion plan to address the dire mental health crisis in the state.
Hochul said her plan will add 1,000 beds for inpatient psychiatric treatment and create 3,500 housing units in the state’s mental health care system. The multi-year plan would also increase insurance coverage for mental health services, expand outpatient services and create greater accountability in hospital admissions and discharges.
“We have underinvested in mental health care for so long, and allowed the situation to become so dire, that it has become a public safety crisis, as well,” Hochul said in the State of State address Tuesday. “This proposal marks a monumental shift to make sure no one falls through the cracks and to finally and fully meet the mental health needs of all New Yorkers.”
State-licensed hospitals will be directed to reopen 850 inpatient psychiatric beds that went offline during the pandemic. The state also would create 150 new adult beds in state-operated psychiatric hospitals, including 100 in New York City.
Hochul said the plan would also provide mental health services in schools, and plans to cut the mental health needs among children by at least half in the next five years. New Yorkers suffering from addiction, especially to opioids, are also included in the initiative, Hochul said.
“So whether we’re talking about a child with behavioral challenges, or an adult suffering from depression no one should go without a screening or a doctor’s appointment or counseling. And cost should never be a barrier,” Hochul said.