Governor Kathy Hochul today, at an event with New York City Mayor Eric Adams, announced major investments to help improve access to acute mental health care and hospital psychiatric beds across New York State. The initiatives are part of a plan to provide the necessary support and services for people with serious mental illness experiencing homelessness, as well as others in crisis. The investments include $27.5 million annually to increase funding for inpatient psychiatric beds; $9 million annually to recruit psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners; and $12.5 million annually for 500 additional supportive housing beds to house people experiencing homelessness in their communities.
“For too long our mental healthcare system suffered from disinvestment, and the pandemic has only made things harder for New Yorkers with serious mental illness who are experiencing homelessness,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to stand with Mayor Adams and share our efforts to boost mental health treatment services for those who lack stable housing and bring more psychiatric beds online. We must work together to keep our subways — the lifeblood of New York City — safe for all riders, and to get help and services to those in need.”
Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Governor Hochul’s proposed budget and the initiatives she is implementing are truly historic and will greatly strengthen the mental health care safety net in New York. The actions she is announcing today, and the collaborative approach she is taking with Mayor Adams, will help provide services quickly and effectively to people experiencing a mental health crisis.”
One cause of the shortage of psychiatric beds in New York City and across the state is lower Medicaid reimbursement for inpatient psychiatric care compared to medical/surgical beds. The $27.5 million investment would increase the current Medicaid for psychiatric beds by 20% and would help bring beds back online for psychiatric use, including more than 600 in New York City.
A second challenge with reestablishing psychiatric beds is the nation-wide shortage of psychiatrists and psychiatric nurse practitioners. Governor Hochul is committing $9 million annually to establish a loan forgiveness program to recruit these mental health practitioners into the community-based mental health workforce.
For too long our mental healthcare system suffered from disinvestment, and the pandemic has only made things harder for New Yorkers with serious mental illness who are experiencing homelessness
Governor Kathy Hochul
The investment of $12.5 million annually for 500 additional supportive housing beds will help to more quickly transition those in crisis from the streets, subways and shelters to stable housing. These units will give the State the additional resources it will need as the Governor’s Safe Options Support teams come online in the Spring. These additional units will complement the 10,000 units of supportive housing announced in the Governor’s $25 billion housing plan.
These investments will build on the Governor’s $10 billion plan to improve the health care system and proposed budget, which includes a historic $577 million (17.2%) increase for critically important community mental health programs and services. These budget initiatives include:
- $21 million investment to develop 20 new SOS teams comprised of mental health specialists to conduct direct one-on-one outreach with New Yorkers experiencing homelessness
- $25 billion housing plan with a commitment to create and preserve 10,000 units of supportive housing over the next five years to prevent homelessness
- workforce investments through a historic 5.4% Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) for community mental health providers and retention bonuses up to $3,000
- $35 million investment for FY 2023 that grows to $60 million in FY 2024 to prepare New York for the nationwide launch of 9-8-8, the suicide prevention and behavioral health crisis hotline system, by providing for the expansion of call center capacity.
Senator Samra Brouk said, “When it comes to mental health, New York State is facing a crisis, where many lives have been lost and many others hang in the balance. We can no longer ignore or incarcerate our way out of this crisis which is why I have championed proven, treatment-based solutions in the Senate like supportive housing, which ensures the treatment needs of our unhoused families are met and that treatment is accessible. After decades of closing inpatient beds even as the need for them has climbed, Governor Hochul’s leadership is a welcome reversal, and I am encouraged by today’s significant investments to improve psychiatric supports for those in crisis. As we continue to work on a state Budget that comprehensively addresses our families’ needs, I hope to continue building on these investments together to address New Yorkers’ unmet mental health care needs.”
Assemblymember Aileen Gunther said, “I want to thank Governor Hochul for the tremendous investments she’s making in mental health. We need this support now more than ever. The lack of support for mental healthcare in this state has led to a crisis. We’ve said it for years and I’m glad the state is finally stepping up to the plate to ensure support and services are available.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “We cannot turn a blind eye when our fellow New Yorkers are in crisis. We cannot continue to accept a system that forces our residents to seek shelter in our subways, left without any other place to turn. It will not continue in New York City. I’m grateful to Governor Hochul for her partnership as we lead with compassion, empathy, and support together. These investments in mental health will go towards those who need it most and help bring our unhoused New Yorkers home.”
Council Member Linda Lee said, “Improving New York City’s mental health care system must start with helping the most vulnerable among us receive treatment. I applaud the initiatives announced by Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams to increase funding for supportive and stable housing as well as treatments for New Yorkers desperately in need of mental health assistance. These investments will help get New Yorkers off the streets, into housing and treatment, and help improve the pipeline for practitioners who are so desperately needed in our City’s streets.”