(WNY News Now) – Governor Kathy Hochul announced that more than $5.1 million was awarded to support 137 school-based mental health clinic satellites throughout New York State, including 82 at high-needs schools. Administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health, the funding is part of the governor’s $1 billion landmark plan to transform New York’s mental health care system, which includes a total of $8.3 million to support and expand these clinics throughout the state.
N.Y. – “Good morning. Thank you for joining us. I just had an incredibly emotional experience with a number of high school students who opened up their hearts to me talking about the impact of the pandemic on them, even three years later. It’s real. The emotions are still raw. These kids are still struggling.
And we came to this school, the Leadership and Public Service School, to meet some young people who should be at the prime of their lives and carefree. And they’re still overcoming grief, the loss of loved ones, the loss of their former self, the loss of the learning experience that should have allowed them to grow in a different environment. And they all talked about being drawn into this dark, digital world where they did not have friends face to face.
So it was very disconnecting for them. So to hear from them as I launched this series back in the spring for me to personally hear from teenagers who are affected is driving me even further to the conclusion that more must be done. It’s not just about stemming the learning loss, which is what we proposed resources to help deal with that last summer. But it’s also about the loss of that social connection, which is having a negative effect on young people still today.
So what we’re talking about today is awarding $5.1 million to school-based mental health programs. We announced the opening of this program in August. Today we announced that the first schools are receiving anywhere from $25,000 to $45,000 as seed money for them to develop a program where they can find a way to reach out to these young people, help support for their local clinicians and their guidance counselors who play critical roles. But also, building a full-time program training staff and also giving them space.
This builds on our $1 billion investment in my last Budget, a continuum of care, everything from more beds for people on the streets. They can get the support they need in hospitals. Support for people who are veterans, people with long term PTSD. People with mental health challenges, people with substance abuse challenges. So that is all what we are focusing on.
But today, the highlight was on these young people because the statistics are so alarming – the number of young people contemplating suicide, the number of young people feeling depression. The numbers are astronomical. And as adults, and also as leaders, we have an obligation to try to return these young people to some semblance of normalcy, even three years after the impact of the global pandemic.”