ALBANY, NY – Mental and behavioral health advocates are praising Governor Cuomo for his comments yesterday about the emotional toll the pandemic has taken on New Yorkers.
But, they say the state should be providing more financial help to address the issue.
NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has the latest.
((Andrew Cuomo, Governor))
I’m telling you from talking to people and hearing their voice, and hearing their concerns, I’m telling you we have a serious problem of the emotional stress and anxiety that COVID has caused.
Several advocacy groups have signed onto a letter to the Governor to “provide full funding for mental health and substance use disorder services.”
((Lauri Cole, New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare Executive Director)) We’re concerned because right now, due to the state’s fiscal circumstance, the governor has unfortunately had to create withholds of money that ordinarily flows to these agencies were counties, and they’re withholds of money that in the, in the pockets of providers, feels like a cut right now.
Advocates also say the state should “release federal CARES funds currently available to New York to support the mental health and substance use disorder needs of adults, children and families.”
The letter notes that the state’s Disaster Distress Helpline was up 697% from June 2019 – June 2020.
A coalition called Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids Campaign says the pandemic has been especially rough on children.
((Ronald E. Richter, JCCA CEO)) It is really new for young people to become adept at learning virtually developing relationships with teachers and peers, virtually and trying to adapt to having their parents play a very different role in their education, and so that creates anxiety for a lot of young people.
Cole says for anyone struggling right now there’s tons of help and resources throughout the state.
((Lauri Cole, New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare Executive Director))
It would behoove parents and significant others and kin that care for kids and youth to demonstrate that it’s ok to ask for help, that adults ask for health and kids can too.
Advocates also note that there are virtual or remote behavioral health services available.