NYS Governor Andrew Cuomo took two important steps over the past few days to advance mental health policy in New York.
On Friday, his Administration formally applied to the federal Medicaid agency (CMS) for approval to extend Medicaid benefits to New Yorkers with serious behavioral health conditions 30 days prior to release from state prisons and local jails.
This measure was a top NYAPRS legislative priority and would make New York the first state in the nation to allow such extensive early treatment and more appropriate discharge planning that could prevent countless incidents of relapse, suicide, homelessness, re-offending and re-incarceration.
On Sunday, the Governor signed the Mental Health Education bill into law, mandating that middle schools and high schools teach about mental health.
The Mental Health Association of NYS hailed this long sought measure, citing that “this new law will have a major impact in high schools and middle schools. Over half of all individuals with mental health issues begin experiencing symptoms at age fourteen. Too often the signs are missed and young people will go without treatment for years, which impacts them academically, increases the likelihood of abusing alcohol and drugs, getting into legal trouble and in some cases tragically losing their lives to suicide completion. Also, mental health education in schools will provide a greater understanding of these issues and will help reduce stigma and play a role in educating youth about suicide prevention.”
Congratulations to MHANYS and CEO Glenn Liebman for their tireless effort to get this measure passed.