ALBANY, NY (WENY) — Erin Moran has struggled with her mental health for most of her life. She said when she was 26, she hit a crisis point. For the next three and a half years she went to the emergency room 14 times and had 16 psychiatric hospitalizations–battling self-harm, suicidal ideations, and childhood trauma.
She said the mental health services she received in her time of crisis helped her weather the storm.
“I would not be standing here today if not for the services I have received and continue to receive,” she said.
Now 31, Moran spoke at a recent press conference urging the governor and legislators to increase to the cost-of-living adjustment. She said this increase would help the mental health workforce, that other advocates said is in crisis.
“We talk so much about the power of community mental health services. And what I was trying to highlight is that the workforce is a part of that community. The services work because they care about us, the service recipients, and we care about them,” Moran said.
In her executive budget, Gov. Kathy Hochul proposes a 2.5% increase to the cost-of-living adjustment. Behavioral health advocates and some lawmakers are asking for an 8.5% increase to retain mental health workers.
“We need good people, and there are good people out there–people that care, people that are willing to give their time and energy, but they deserve care as well. And in return that care is allowing them to have a sustainable life to take care of their families for as much as they’re taking care of our families,” said Sen. Nathalia Fernandez (D-34th Senate District).
Sen. Fernandez said she spoke to Gov. Hochul last week about increasing the cost-of-living adjustment, who she said seemed to be receptive. Sen. Fernandez also said it’s hard to say whether or not the cost-of-living adjustment will be increased in the final budget plan, due on April 1, but there seems to be a lot of support in the legislature.