NAMI-NYC Applauds Hochul’s $1B Mental Health Investment, But Continues to Call for More Peer-Led Community Programs, Psychiatric Beds, and Supportive Housing
New York, NY, January 11, 2023–In response to Governor Hochul’s announcement of a $1 billion investment in mental health services statewide, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC) made the following statement:
Our organization thanks Governor Hochul for a long-overdue investment in culturally competent behavioral health services in our hospitals, communities, and schools statewide and in New York City. There has been systemic disinvestment in behavioral health for decades, and we’ve been unable to recover resources lost during the pandemic.
We are glad to hear that the Governor will increase operational capacity by adding 1,000 inpatient psychiatric beds, including 850 offline beds the majority of which went away during the pandemic and 150 new adult beds in state-operated psychiatric hospitals. We also applaud the proposal for 3,500 new units for people living with mental illness, including single room occupancy (SROs), transitional stepdown units, and supportive housing units.
We urge Governor Hochul to prioritize the following:
- We need additional investments in community-based programs such as the vital peer support and family support programs provided by NAMI-NYC. Research shows that family psychoeducation and support improve family relationships and mental health outcomes for psychiatric patients, including aftercare and their long-term journey to recovery. We also request the mandatory inclusion of peers as a part of each Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team in order to provide culturally competent care.
- We need well over 100 psychiatric beds to meet the growing demand for inpatient services. We also need data on psychiatric hospital admissions and discharges to ensure hospitals are providing the appropriate number of beds. We must also ensure individuals are referred to wraparound services upon discharge.
- We urgently need more permanent supportive housing units for people living with serious mental illness (SMI) rather than temporary options. Only 1,500 of the proposed 3,500 units are permanent, which are key to the health and recovery of people with SMI.
- We call upon the State to create long-term sustainable funding to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to the 988 crisis hotline after its $60 million original investment ceases.
To learn more or join us in our advocacy work, visit www.naminyc.org/advocacy.