Mental health access in New York

Health Care & Insurance

Across the state, New York communities are struggling to access mental health care, which has only become more difficult amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic began, hundreds of inpatient psychiatric beds have been eliminated, converted to COVID-related or general medical use, or have been completely taken out of commission. This year, it is estimated that there are fewer than 5,000 adult short-term inpatient psychiatric beds in hospitals across the state, which is 96.5 percent fewer beds than in the 1960s

As New York is dealing with a crisis in mental health care, New York Attorney General Letitia James has held in-person public hearings to examine the accessibility of mental health care for New Yorkers with serious mental illness across the state.
 


New York City public hearing

June 22, 2022

Attorney General Letitia James held an in-person hearing with affected individuals and family members, advocacy groups, health care providers, elected officials, and government agencies about the challenges accessing mental health care in New York.

Western New York public hearing

January 18, 2023

Attorney General Letitia James held an in person hearing with affected individuals and family members, advocacy groups, health care providers, elected officials, and government agencies about the challenges accessing mental health care in New York.

Judy Bassette, Recovery International - Grand Island
Read Judy Bassette's testimony

Tracy Bradshaw, Boys & Girls Clubs Collaboration of WNY - Buffalo
Read Tracy Bradshaw's testimony

Victoria Brooks, Erie County Medical Center - Buffalo
Read Victoria Brooks' testimony

Irving Campbell, New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) - Queens
Read Irving Campbell's testimony

Frank Cerny, The Rural Outreach Center - East Aurora
Read Frank Cerny's testimony

Melinda DuBois, Mental Health Advocates of Western New York - Buffalo
Read Melinda DuBois' testimony

Jamie Francis, Endeavor Health Services - Buffalo
Read Jamie Francis' testimony

Shannon Higbee, Recovery Options Made Easy - Gowanda
Read Shannon Higbee's testimony

Craig Johnson, Consortium of Addiction Services and Supports, Region II, Rochester
Read Craig Johnson's testimony

Kimberly Hubert-Bickel, NAMI Buffalo & Erie County / Save the Michaels of the World / Anchoring Hope of NY - Newfane
Read Kimberly Hubert-Bickel's testimony

Cindy Lee, OLV Human Services - Lackawanna
Read Cindy Lee's testimony

Bianca Logan, Young Leaders and Advocates Network - Buffalo
Read Bianca Logan's testimony

Patrick Lyons, NYS Public Employees Federation - Albany
Read Patrick Lyons' testimony

Bridget McNally, Erie County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) - Buffalo
Read Bridget McNally's testimony

Elizabeth McPartland, Child & Family Services of Erie County - Buffalo
Read Elizabeth McPartland's testimony

Jane Mogavero, Patrick P. Lee Foundation - Williamsville
Read Jane Mogavero's testimony

Susan Parker, Chautauqua County Legislator - Fredonia
Read Susan Parker's testimony

Mark Polancarz, Erie County Executive
Read Mark Polancarz's testimony

Harvey Rosenthal, New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services - Albany
Read Harvey Rosenthal's testimony

Victoria Ross, WNY Peace Center - Buffalo
Read Victoria Ross' testimony

Adam Selon, Restoration Society, Inc. – Buffalo
Read Adam Selon's testimony

Laura Shriver-Brown, Resource Wellness Group - Buffalo
Read Laura Shriver-Brown's testimony

Vanessa Tirone, Psychological Association of Western New York - Buffalo
Read Vanessa Tirone's testimony

Brandy Tomlinson, Disability Rights New York - Rochester
Read Brandy Tomlinson's testimony

Jeff Tomlinson, NYS Occupational Therapy Association - Chester
Read Jeff Tomlinson's testimony

Carmen Torres, The Children's Agenda, Parent Leadership Manager -  Rochester
Read Carmen Torres' testimony

Todd Vaarwerk, Western New York Independent Living - Buffalo
Read Todd Vaarwerk's testimony

Brandy Vandermark-Murray, Horizon Health Services - Buffalo
Read Brandy Vandermark-Murray's testimony

Robyn Wiktorski-Reynolds, Crisis Services - Buffalo
Read Robyn Wiktorski-Reynolds' testimony

Denise Amato - Buffalo
Read Denise Amato's testimony

Mary Jo Alessio - Buffalo
Read Mary Jo Alessio's testimony

Jada C. Beard, RN at BryLin Hospitals Buffalo - Buffalo
Read Jada C. Beard's testimony

Murnita Bennett, ECMC - Buffalo
Read Murnita Bennett's testimony

Jennifer Brinkworth, RN, New York State Nurses Association - Buffalo
Read Jennifer Brinkworth's testimony

Lawrence Brooks - Buffalo
Read Jennifer Brinkworth's testimony

Rebecca Butler – Buffalo
Read Rebecca Butler's testimony

Nysha Camilo - Buffalo
Read Nysha Camilo's testimony

Linda Cowan - Buffalo
Read Linda Cowan's testimony

Kenyani Davis, Community Health Center of Buffalo, INC. - Buffalo
Read Kenyani Davis's testimony

Diveth Garcia, The Children's Agenda Parent Advocacy Group – Rochester
Read Diveth Garcia's testimony

Jessica Gilbert - Ellicottville
Read Jessica Gilbert's testimony

Douglas Goldberg – Rochester
Read Douglas Goldberg's testimony

Lisa Guzman - Rochester
Read Lisa Guzman's testimony

Kathleen A. Hallinan, MD MPH, Corning Guthrie Clinic, Board Certified Internal Medicine, Diplomate Board of Obesity Medicine – Corning
Read Kathleen A. Hallinan's testimony

Brian Hannold - Niagara Falls
Read Brian Hannold's testimony

Cara Hudson - Niagara Falls
Read Cara Hudson's testimony

Kim Ingles - Warsaw
Read Kim Ingles' testimony

Robyn Johnson - Geneva
Read Robyn Johnson's testimony

Sarah Johnson, Enlightened Earth Hypnosis - Pittsford
Read Sarah Johnson's testimony

Renee Lueke - East Aurora
Read Renee Lueke's testimony

Monica Lynch - Buffalo
Read Monica Lynch's testimony

Angel Malavet, Guthrie Clinic - Corning
Read Angel Malavet's testimony

Jessica Mason, University at Buffalo - East Amherst
Read Jessica Mason's testimony

Chackupurackal Mathai, NYS Behavioral Health Services Advisory Council member – Rochester
Read Chackupurackal Mathai's testimony

Erin Melfi, 1199 SEIU - Buffalo
Read Erin Melfi's testimony

Nico Mitchell - Buffalo
Read Nico Mitchell's testimony

Mark Mortenson - Lakeview
Read Mark Mortenson's testimony

Stephen Nawotniak - Lancaster
Read Stephen Nawotniak's testimony

Tricia Newton - Hamburg
Read Tricia Newton's testimony

Heidi Olsen, Restoration Society - Buffalo
Read Heidi Olsen's testimony

Ev Reynolds III, Ev Reynolds Contracting - Hamburg
Read Ev Reynolds III's testimony

Barbara Robertsson - Amherst
Read Barbara Robertsson's testimony

Eve Shippens, NAMI - Buffalo
Read Eve Shippen's testimony

Stalven Smith, Niagara Wheatfield Central School District – Niagara Falls
Read Stalven Smith's testimony

Sandra Sorensen - Ithaca
Read Sandra Sorensen's testimony

Shirley Stanton, CINQ Care/ECMC - Buffalo
Read Shirley Stanton's testimony

Julia Szprygada - Buffalo
Read Julia Szprygada's testimony

Elisa Tobia, NAMI Finger Lakes - Corning
Read Elisa Tobia's testimony

Ann Venuto, NAMI Buffalo & Erie County Board Member/Past President - Buffalo
Read Ann Venuto's testimony

Lauren Walcutt – Troy
Read Lauren Walcutt's testimony

Chris Weinert - Buffalo
Read Chris Weinert's testimony

Nicole White - Rochester
Read Nicole White's testimony