Attorney General James spoke at a public hearing on the mental health crisis in Western New York


Dozens of testimonies submitted to the OAG describe challenges.
in mental health care in Western New York and the state

New York – New York Attorney General Leticia James held a public hearing on mental health care in Western New York. Dozens of affected individuals, health care providers, elected officials and community members testified about the challenges they face in accessing and providing mental health care and services. The testimonies covered many issues, including low funding for community health groups and health care facilities, gaps in integrated care, staff shortages and stigma surrounding mental health care. This was the second public hearing since Attorney General James’ hearing on mental health services in New York. Held in New York City in June 2022. Attorney James encourages New Yorkers who experience difficulties or barriers to accessing or receiving mental health services. Submission of written testimony to her office by January 20. Through these hearings, Attorney General James aims to gather direct input from urban, suburban and rural communities across the state and inform legislative solutions and enforcement actions.

“The past few months have been particularly devastating for Western New York and many have been left without adequate resources and care to meet their mental health needs,” he said. Attorney General James. “These hearings are critical to our efforts to improve mental health services for New Yorkers, lower barriers to accessing mental health services, and help communities heal. I am grateful to all who shared their personal and often painful experiences as part of these hearings. The testimony and information gathered in my office will inform the mental health issues facing our state.” It helps us to address the crisis and ensure that adequate and culturally competent care is available to all who need it.

Today, 21 individuals gave their oral testimony and about 100 individuals submitted written testimony to the Attorney General. Written testimony will be accepted Online through Friday, January 20, 2023And all the witnesses will be public.

It could be a live streaming event. Seen here.

The first public hearing of Attorney General James was held in June 2022 in New York CityAnd it focused primarily on issues affecting the bottom line. Dozens of affected family members, health care providers, advocates and elected officials testified at a public hearing in New York City.

“Too often, things are said about mental illness and what needs to be done to improve the lives of those who suffer, but nothing is done. Instead of empty words, steps must be taken to show that New York State truly cares about the thousands of people who suffer from mental illness every day and the impact it has on their families, friends and society, he said. Elisa and Joe Tobias, affected family members who testified at the trial.. “At the time of the loss of our 30-year-old son to schizoaffective disorder, Attorney General James’ actions give us hope for the future. We can’t thank General James enough for taking the time to listen and ultimately taking action to help those who need it most.

“Quality mental health services are an important part of the overall health of the community, but access to these services is not always a given,” he said. Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I thank Attorney General James for providing this hearing with the opportunity to gain input from individuals and agencies who deal with mental health issues every day, a valuable perspective to help improve access statewide.”

“As I work in my capacity as chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee to improve mental health outcomes in my community and across the state, I am encouraged by Attorney General Leticia James’ commitment to improving care in Western New York,” he said. State Senator Samra Brouk. “The Attorney General has the unique authority to implement legislative and enforcement solutions, and I look forward to working with her to address unmet needs in our community.”

“There’s a stigma around mental health,” he said. Erie County Legislature Chairman April M. Baskin. “This stigma manifests in our personal lives, where we are uncomfortable discussing or acknowledging our own struggles, and this stigma manifests at the community level, where we turn a blind eye. But we can only begin to heal when we identify what hurts us, and we can only begin to develop public policies when we acknowledge that this issue is real and pervasive. I commend Attorney General James for having the courage to face this issue and for ensuring a place where people can share their stories. This work is inconvenient, but necessary. ”

“Mental health is just as important as physical health. As our community’s need for mental health services increases, nurses and health care professionals across the state have seen hospital systems close to inpatient mental health and dementia services,” she said. Nancy Hagans, RN, BSN, CCRN, President, New York State Nurses Association. “Now is not the time to cut mental health services. We thank Attorney General James for organizing this forum to discuss the challenges of care delivery and look forward to real solutions to help our communities heal both mentally and physically.

“Too many New Yorkers are struggling to get the crisis, inpatient, community support and housing they need and deserve,” he said. Harvey Rosenthal, CEO of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services of New York. “We see every day how detrimental these services are when they are underfunded and understaffed or not available at all. A big thank you to Attorney General James for bringing us together to discuss the challenges and identify real solutions to help our neighbors in need.

“Thank you, Attorney General Leticia James, for convening this important public hearing. System change requires a concerted effort, involving consumers and peers in the solution, and can only be achieved when mental health is addressed at every level,” he said. Melinda Dubois, Executive Director of Mental Health Advocates of Western New York. “Based on the damage the Western New York community has experienced, we deserve better. MHA is grateful to be part of the solution.

“Too many Western New Yorkers are struggling to access essential mental health services in times of crisis. DCSs have seen firsthand how detrimental it is to individual survival when facilities are underfunded, understaffed, and unable to properly provide treatment in a crisis. Laura J. Kelemen, LCSW-R (DCS, Niagara County), Chair, New York State Conference of Local Mental Health Directors. “I want to sincerely thank Attorney General James for bringing us together to discuss these challenges and provide the government with real solutions that will help our most vulnerable people improve and prosper.”

“Too many New Yorkers and people of color disproportionately receive any form of behavioral health care because of the crisis,” he said. Chaku Matai, Member, New York State Advisory Council on Behavioral Health Services. “We need to move away from failed investments and policies to community-based hospital referral services like peer-to-peer and volunteering and participation and housing initiatives. I want to thank Attorney General Jacob for bringing us together to discuss challenges and come up with real solutions to help those in need.”

Attorney General James was joined by First Deputy Attorney General Jennifer Levy, Assistant Attorney General Michael Reisman, and Assistant Attorney General and Special Assistant Gina Bull.



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