November 30, 2023
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces $5.1 Million to Establish School-Based Mental Health Clinics

Governor Hochul Announces $5.1 Million to Establish School-Based Mental Health Clinics

Funding to Support Satellite Clinics at 137 Schools and Promote Student Access to Necessary Treatment and Support

Awards are Part of Governor Hochul’s $1 Billion Plan to Expand New York State’s Continuum of Mental Health Care and Address Youth Mental Health Challenges

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Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that more than $5.1 million was awarded to support 137 school-based mental health clinic satellites throughout New York State, including 82 at high-needs schools. Administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health, the funding is part of the governor’s $1 billion landmark plan to transform New York’s mental health care system, which includes a total of $8.3 million to support and expand these clinics throughout the state.

“In the age of aggressive social media culture, it is clear young people are facing insidious, and increasingly complex challenges to their mental and emotional wellness,” Governor Hochul said. “By expanding mental health clinics in school-based settings, we can help engage young people of all ages in a familiar and stigma-free environment through conversations led by licensed experts.”

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Office of Mental Health-licensed providers were awarded $25,000 per clinic to establish services at 137 schools throughout the state. An additional $20,000 per school was awarded to those providers establishing services at high-needs schools, where more than 50 percent of the students are classified as coming from economically disadvantaged households.

In total, $1.4 million in startup funding was provided for clinics at 55 schools, with an additional $3.7 million awarded to clinics at 82 schools located within high-needs districts. Once these are established, there will be roughly 1,200 school-based clinics throughout New York State.

New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “By expanding these clinics into additional schools throughout the state, we can help youth and their families identify mental health issues and access care earlier on, which ultimately lead to better health outcomes for young people. I commend Governor Hochul for expanding these clinics in her landmark plan to build out New York’s continuum of mental health care and her continued focus on improving youth mental health throughout our state.”

By expanding mental health clinics in school-based settings, we can help engage young people of all ages in a familiar and stigma-free environment through conversations led by licensed experts.

Governor Kathy Hochul

The satellite clinics operate at each school’s main location and will be staffed by mental health practitioners regularly throughout the academic week. Through establishing a physical space within a school building, these clinics will be part of the school community alongside educators, allowing them to achieve optimal treatment outcomes.

Practitioners will help to identify childhood mental health needs earlier and engage families that might not have otherwise sought mental health assistance. A list of the new satellite clinics by region, district, and school can be found here.

Governor Hochul announced the awards during a visit to the Leadership and Public Service High School in Tribeca, where she met with students to discuss the mental health challenges they face along with their peers. New York Foundling will establish a satellite clinic at the school using a $45,000 award through the initiative.

The funding will enable New York Foundling to develop a physical location at the school, shift a part-time program supervisor to a full-time role, and provide additional training for staff. Once established, the clinic will work to reduce mental health stigma, engage students and their families to connect them with services and provide case management for those needing more intensive services.

New York Founding CEO Melanie Hartzog said, “Our kids’ mental health needs are only growing. Thanks to this new funding, the New York Foundling will be able to open an on-site mental health clinic the at Leadership and Public Service High School that will provide therapy, referrals, and complex care coordination. This is exactly the kind of model we need to be expanding across the city and state. We are so grateful to Governor Hochul and the Office of Mental Health for this support.”

Assemblymember Aileen M. Gunther said, “Mental Health care is vital to all our communities. As a registered nurse and Assemblymember I have seen firsthand the struggle to provide adequate care for youth mental health throughout New York State. I applaud Governor Kathy Hochul on the expansion of these school-based mental health clinic satellites throughout New York State. These clinics bring care directly to those in need and it is critical that our state supports New York's communities, including by enhancing supports for children's mental health. I have always fought for what was best for my constituents, and I look forward to working with Governor Hochul on further expanding our healthcare infrastructure so that all those in need of mental health support have the access they need.”

State Senator Samra Brouk, Chair of the NYS Senate Mental Health Committee, said, “Now more than ever, our young people need access to quality, culturally competent mental health care. Nearly 40 percent of young people report having persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness, and we have an obligation to take meaningful, immediate action. This is especially true for Black and Brown students, and those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. This funding here in New York will allow more students to receive the support they deserve in a safe and trusted location, and is an essential component to making sure students with higher risk factors are seen in a timely fashion. I’m grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul for her leadership on this issue, and I look forward to our continued collaboration to make New York a safer, healthier place for our young people.”

Governor Hochul Makes a Youth Mental Health Announcement

Governor Hochul has made youth mental health a focus of her administration and included it as an important component of her landmark $1 billion plan to strengthen New York State’s mental healthcare system. In the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget adopted in May, she secured $30 million to expand mental health services for school-aged children throughout the state, including $20 million for school-based mental health services and $10 million to implement wraparound services training.

Governor Hochul’s plan also provided a 25 percent increase in Medicaid rates for full-day school-based programs for young people with significant mental health challenges and for school-based mental health services provided by Article 31 licensed clinics serving children in pre-K, elementary and secondary schools. This additional funding will improve access to services and ensure close coordination between the clinics, schools, and families.

As part of her plan, Governor Hochul increased insurance reimbursement rates for school based mental health services, ensuring the care provided by school-based mental health clinic satellites will be covered by commercial insurance plans and at the same rates as Medicaid. This change was adopted as part of the FY 2024 State Budget in May and will take effect starting in January, ensuring clinics can provide a high-quality care at their school satellites.

Last Spring, Governor Hochul hosted a Listening Tour on Youth Mental Health, which culminated in the first-ever Summit on Youth Mental Health, gathering state and national experts alongside service providers and stakeholders to examine the unprecedented challenges many young people are facing today. The tour and summit resulted in recommendations to invest in community-based resources for mental wellness promotion and to increase free or low-cost mental health resources.

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