August 21, 2015
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Expansion of Early Intervention Services For New York Youth With Schizophrenia

Governor Cuomo Announces Expansion of Early Intervention Services For New York Youth With Schizophrenia

$6.75 Million Program Opens New Locations in Buffalo, Long Island, New York City, and Syracuse; Additional Sites Planned for Albany, Rochester, and New York City by End of 2015

Governor Cuomo today announced that the New York State Office of Mental Health is expanding a program that provides much needed mental health services to young adults with newly emerging psychotic symptoms. Individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia typically experience their first psychotic episode in young adulthood. With $6.75 million in current annual state and federal funding, the Office of Mental Health has developed the OnTrackNY program, which provides psychiatric treatment, employment, educational services, and family education and support for young adults throughout New York State.

‎"Early intervention can save lives, and with this funding we're going to be able to reach more young adults battling mental illness and put them on the path toward comprehensive treatment," ‎Governor Cuomo said. "I thank our state and federal partners for working with us to secure this funding and ensuring that more New Yorkers get the services they need."

OnTrackNY began with sites in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Yonkers; which serve approximately 160 youth at any given time. The Office of Mental Health has now expanded this program to five new locations, in Buffalo, Farmingville, Syracuse and another two in Manhattan, which will serve 175 youth combined. An additional three OnTrackNY sites are in currently in development for Albany, Rochester, and New York City and plans to further expand the program with existing resources are also in development.

It is estimated that nearly 3,000 New York residents develop schizophrenia each year, which if left untreated leads to a number of significant issues, including problems at school and work, strained family relations, and estrangement from friends. Untreated schizophrenia can lead to problems such as homelessness, incarceration, and substance abuse, the probability of which increases the longer the psychosis goes untreated. Oftentimes, untreated schizophrenia leads to disability, which exacts painful human costs upon the individuals and their families, as well as substantial financial costs to individuals, families, and the healthcare and social service systems.

Started in 2013, the OnTrackNY program provides an innovative, evidence-based, team approach to providing recovery-oriented treatment to young people who have recently begun experiencing psychotic symptoms. OnTrackNY helps young adults with newly emerged psychotic disorders achieve their goals for school, work, and social relationships. This program follows principles of care which include shared decision making, youth friendly and welcoming environments, and connection with flexible and accessible mental health services.

“Through early identification and intervention through programs such as OnTrackNY, we are able to mitigate the disruption and suffering faced by these young people and their families. The expansion of OnTrackNY will build upon the successes of the existing programs and increase the access and availability of community-based psychiatric care throughout New York State.” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Marie T. Sullivan, M.D.

Senator Charles Schumer said, “The OnTrackNY program is a vital resource for New Yorkers with severe mental illnesses. This is a much-needed expansion to ensure some of our most vulnerable residents have the care and treatment they need.”

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney said, "Early treatment and intervention is essential for young people who suffer with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia. The expansion of the OnTrackNY program will allow more people to benefit from lifesaving services, and avoid problems like homelessness and incarceration that often plague those who do not receive proper treatment. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership, and will continue supporting strong federal funding for the Office of Mental Health.”

Congressman Brian Higgins said, “Opening an OnTrackNY location in Buffalo will bring a mental health care program to Western New York that has already proven successful in other areas of the state. This combined federal and state investment will provide critical and comprehensive services to young people and their families who are learning how to manage mental health issues, allowing them to navigate personal relationships and educational and career goals to lead fulfilling lives.”

Congressman Lee Zeldin said, "It's crucial that Long Island residents and families have access to the highest quality of mental health care, especially our youth in need. I am proud to join with Governor Cuomo to announce the expansion of treatment for those families affected by mental illness in Suffolk County. The expansion of this program, which is centered around early detection, helps accelerate the identification and treatment process and provide timelier support for those who are suffering."

OnTrackNY is funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health and the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

For more information about OnTrackNY, please visit:

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office: 212.681.4640

Albany Press Office: 518.474.8418