“Every time you try to look at a piece of what’s being said here, it opens up a Pandora’s box of questions,” said Beth Haroules, director of disability justice litigation at the New York Civil Liberties Union.
Evelyn Blanck and Andrew Cleek |
“To most effectively and efficiently address New York City’s mental health challenges, we must focus on our youngest residents and their caregivers.”
New studies have found that the mental development of children exposed to Superstorm Sandy in utero are associated with stress. This article originally appeared in Nexus Media News and the Guardian.
“There is a looming youth mental health crisis that must be addressed, and the professionals who educate our children have the knowledge and skills to help our young people. Suspending struggling youth only compounds the crisis, and we must reimagine school discipline to ensure that all students, regardless of race or ability, can thrive in their schools.”
At a virtual rally on Sunday, parents, young people and advocates in the city and across the state shared stories about the impact of the pandemic and renewed calls for elected officials to invest more in behavioral health programs and services for children and teens, which experts say have been underfunded for years and are now at a breaking point, with increased demand spurred by the coronavirus crisis.
Youth and advocates are optimistic, saying Gov. Kathy Hochul’s budget takes important steps to expand resources, but that more needs to be done to make up for years of ‘chronic underfunding’ across the system.
The state’s Medicaid redesign under former Gov. Andrew Cuomo included a plan to reform the program’s patchwork, under-resourced mental health care system for children. But nearly a decade later, advocates and experts say access to youth behavioral health services in New York has barely improved, and may have gotten worse.
The de Blasio administration has proposed an increase in spending for student mental health initiatives, but advocates and council members are pushing for more.
Child welfare advocates say the Fair Futures program, which funds coaches and tutors for kids in foster care, is more vital than ever in the face of the pandemic’s impact on young people.
At the start of the pandemic, New York lifted restrictions on the use of telehealth for Medicaid recipients. The change has meant better access to mental health services for families involved in the state’s child welfare system, including youth in foster care, a new survey found.