CT: Mental Health Professionals Ask for a Living Wage Too!

NYAPRS Note: Advocacy groups for community based mental health services and our workforce are ramping up efforts to secure additional funding to address the crisis in our workforce and in our agencies, most notably the intolerably high staff turnover and vacancy rates.
We are calling for a minimum wage hike with ‘compression’, in the manner the Senate has afforded our colleagues who support New Yorkers with developmental disabilities. Compression addresses the need to increase the salaries for more experienced direct care staffers and supervisors in order to maintain the current salary gap with minimum wage workers. The cost of doing is for our dedicated mental health workforce is $50 million.

We also greatly support the $9.85 million Cost of Living Adjustment provided by the Assembly, an allocation that will help hard pressed community mental health agencies to address crushing financial pressures caused by steadily rising operational costs that have not been addressed for many years.

Towards these ends, we are re-doubling efforts to jointly bring our case to Administration and legislative officials and to the media/public over the next few days, starting with last night’s story on Albany’s nightly Capital TV show, Capital Tonight. Some of the points Glenn and I made last night are also well expressed from several of our members (see below). Stay tuned for a schedule of planned actions!

“Both houses and the Governor have taken some action to support the human services workforce. The problem lies in that neither are they on the same page about how to address the issue; nor is their proposed action sufficient. We urge the Executive to join in meaningful negotiations around the statutory COLA and significant support for meeting the minimum wage mandate in a way that is fair to all our employees, both those at minimum wage or near minimum wage.”

Andrea Smyth, NY State Coalition for Children's Behavioral Health

“We appreciate that all three bodies in some form have recognized that our staff/ workforce are the heart and soul of the sector/ industry. However they each fall short and what we are asking for is a comprehensive commitment to ensuring that vital behavioral health programs have the necessary resources-both staff and funding to ensure they can offer their communities and clients prompt access to high quality services.”

Christy Parque, Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies

Mental Health Professionals Ask for a Living Wage Too

By Capital Tonight Staff March 15, 2017

Human services workers are asking the state for a raise this year. Senate Republicans are including funding to give direct care workers who help the developmentally disabled higher wages. Now advocates from the mental health field are saying much of same legislative action should be taken to support mental health professionals.

Glenn Liebman of the Mental Health Association of New York State and Harvey Rosenthal of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services join us to explain.