Hochul Plans to Spend $1B on Mental Health Care

New York State Capitol building, Albany (123rf)

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP/Hamodia) — New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced plans Tuesday to add 1,000 beds for inpatient psychiatric treatment and create 3,500 housing units to address what she says are gaps in the state’s mental health care system.

“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 a prepared statement. “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.”

The announcement comes on the heels of New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ plans, announced in late November, to involuntarily hospitalize mentally ill people, a move which was met with fierce condemnation from civil rights groups, with many questioning the city’s capacity to deal with a large influx of mental health patients.

The more than $1 billion, multiyear plan was announced as part of the Democratic governor’s annual State of the State address, which she is scheduled to deliver at 1 p.m. It also would increase insurance coverage for mental health services, expand outpatient services and create greater accountability in hospital admissions and discharges.

The plan would direct state-licensed hospitals 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 state would provide capital investments and operating funds for 3,500 new residential units. That includes 1,500 supportive housing units serving people with serious mental illness and 900 transitional step-down units.

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