Commitment To Open School-Based Mental Health Clinic in Every School That Wants One
Governor Hochul on Thursday, January 11, announced the availability of $50 million to help community-based hospitals expand access to mental health treatment for children and adults across New York State. This funding, part of Governor Hochul's $1 billion investment to transform the mental health continuum of care, will allow these facilities to add new inpatient capacity. Governor Hochul also highlighted the proposals in her 2024 State of the State to tackle the youth mental health crisis, including a commitment to open a school-based mental health clinic for every school that wants one.
“For too long, the mental health crisis has been ignored or pushed aside — but no longer," Governor Hochul said. "Our $1 billion investment is transforming the mental health continuum of care, and our State of the State initiatives will make a real change in the lives of millions of kids.”
Administered by the state Office of Mental Health, this funding will provide awards of up to $5 million to cover design, property acquisition, and construction costs associated with this expansion. Eligible facilities include Article 28 licensed general hospitals and freestanding Article 31 psychiatric hospitals, which operate programs licensed or certified by and in good standing with OMH.
Governor Hochul announced the availability of this funding during a visit to the New York City Children’s Center facility in the Bronx and following her 2024 State of the State address. Earlier this week, she announced new initiatives to ensure children and adolescents have access to adequate mental health support– including youth-led programs, school-based and intensive therapeutic supports, and a specialized workforce trained to treat these populations.
Building on her landmark $1 billion plan to strengthen mental health care, Governor Hochul announced proposals to include additional funding for Children’s Community Residences, developing Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams, continuing funding for school-based and community-based mental health programs, adding inpatient beds for youth with special needs at state-operated psychiatric centers, and other measures aimed at improving mental health support for young people.
The state will also provide additional funding to Children’s Community Residences, which allow youth to go to community schools and continue life in their neighborhoods. These residences will also focus on youth with child welfare involvement, reunifying them with their families and building networks that will encourage success as they age.
Governor Hochul is proposing an expansion of partial hospitalization and children’s day treatment programs for youth who need intensive, daily treatment to address their mental health needs. These programs allow children to stay at home while receiving intensive care in their schools or within community-based treatment settings.
In addition, the state will develop additional Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams also supporting children and adolescents in their communities, and providing wraparound care that includes crisis support, psychotherapy, medication management, and skill-building. First established in 2022, these teams enable young people living with mental illness to live at home and attend school in their community, rather than receiving treatment in residential and inpatient settings.
There are now 24 such teams throughout the state, with an additional six being developed. OMH will fund an additional 12 teams, which would be split between New York City and upstate.
New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “By building a full continuum of mental health services and supports for youth, we can ensure our young people and their families can access appropriate levels of care that will allow them to live and thrive in less restrictive settings. The initiatives outlined in the 2024 State of the State proposal will provide these supports and help children get care at school or within their community, which are less stigmatizing and proven most effective at treating mental health issues.”
Governor Hochul will also partner with the Attorney General and the Legislature to adopt the Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation for Kids Act, which will require social media companies to restrict addictive features. Under this measure, the state would provide resources to young people covering topics such as the risks of social media use, understanding privacy and protecting personal information, and reporting cyberbullying and online abuse and exploitation.
Building on a 200-bed expansion completed last year — New York’s largest in decades — Governor Hochul proposed adding an additional 200 beds at state-operated psychiatric centers. This includes 100 new inpatient beds, 25 forensic beds aimed at restoring justice-involved individuals to competency to stand trial, and three new 25-bed Transition to Home units designed help stabilize individuals with complex mental health needs.
Governor Hochul has made expanding access to mental health services for all New Yorkers, but especially for youth throughout the state. This includes expanding the roughly 1,200 existing school-based mental health clinics to all schools who want them, with continued start-up funding, enhanced reimbursement rates, and enhanced enforcement to ensure all insurers pay adequately for school-based services; and increasing funding for Teen Mental Health First Aid training programs, which utilize peer ambassadors to engage disconnected youth.
In addition, OMH will establish a Youth Advisory Board to ensure behavioral health programs and policies are youth-informed and incorporate best practices. Finally, the Community Mental Health Loan Repayment Program will be expanded to include slots specifically for clinicians who work in child-serving agencies and treat children and families.