October 14, 2021
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Announces Availability of $21 Million in Federal Funding to Strengthen the State's Mental Health Workforce

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Governor Hochul Announces Availability of $21 Million in Federal Funding to Strengthen the State's Mental Health Workforce
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Eligible Outpatient and Community Support Providers Can Utilize Funding at Their Discretion

Funding Can Be Used for Recruitment and Retention Incentives, Educational Expenses and Career Development and Training

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Office of Mental Health has secured $21 million in workforce recruitment and retention funds that will help strengthen the state's mental health system and improve access to mental health services in communities across the state.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has placed an enormous strain on all New Yorkers," Governor Hochul said. "This funding will support our behavioral health workforce and increase access to care, helping to ensure that everyone in our state who needs assistance and treatment can get it."

OMH Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, "Securing these federal funds enables OMH to enhance, expand and sustain community-based mental health services by providing a combination of targeted rate increases and flexible workforce recruitment and retention funds. To determine how we can best utilize these funds, OMH hosted multiple meetings with more than 700 stakeholders to solicit input and identified workforce investment as a key priority.  These funds will dramatically increase capacity and help ensure that every community has the resources it needs to assist their most vulnerable residents."

Representative Yvette D. Clarke said, "I welcome this much needed good news from OMH. The 9th Congressional District is still recovering from the ongoing trauma of COVID-19. Families are still hurting. For generations, the mental health crisis devastating our state and country has only been exacerbated through critical under investments in the services, support, and awareness necessary towards overcoming it. This tragic lack of resources is too often self-evident, but it becomes entirely inescapable when we look towards those suffering the most in our communities. To say I am tired of it is an understatement. Fortunately, today, dedicated public servants capable of making a difference are tired of it, too. Under the leadership of Governor Hochul and her unyielding advocacy, the New York State Office of Mental Health has secured $21 million in transformative funds to bolster our state's mental health systems and ease difficulties in accessing vital mental health services. Meaningful solutions such as these do more than deliver desperately needed resources; they prove the possibility of progress. We can overcome the mental health crisis across New York, America and the world, if only we continue to put in the work needed to do so, as our state has done today. It's a stark reminder that we cannot disregard the lasting trauma people suffer, on the heels of a global health crisis that changed the world."

Representative Paul Tonko said, "Throughout this crisis, more Americans than ever before are seeking mental health services. I fought hard to ensure that these services were addressed in our federal COVID-19 response and am proud that a number of key mental health provisions I pushed for were included in our American Rescue Plan. I thank Governor Hochul for her swift action to bolster New York's mental health workforce and help provide hope to those who need it most."

Representative Kathleen Rice said, "While the terrible loss of life will always be the most devastating consequence of the pandemic, the toll this crisis has taken on mental health cannot be overstated. I was proud to fight for this federal funding in Congress to expand access to mental health services and support our mental health workforce in New York State. I commend Governor Hochul for prioritizing this critical issue."

Representative Adriano Espaillat said, "Mental health impacts each of us and even before the pandemic, the mental health of individuals and families throughout our communities was a growing concern. We have made significant progress, and as we continue to address the numerous challenges brought on by the pandemic, we must ensure that mental health remains at the forefront of our efforts to help our communities rebuild. I commend Governor Hochul for today's announcement utilizing this federal funding to help strengthen New York mental health services and ultimately help families across our state."

Senator Samra Brouk said, "As Chair of the Senate Committee on Mental Health, I applaud Governor Kathy Hochul for securing these funds for the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH). We know that we must dramatically scale up recruitment and retention efforts if New York State is to provide quality, accessible resources to New Yorkers needing mental health and crisis support. I look forward to continuing to work with Governor Hochul to identify new ways to meet the needs of New Yorkers, and to ensure that all people have access to the quality mental health care they deserve."

Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther said, "I thank Governor Hochul and our partners in the federal government for investing in our mental health workforce. Throughout the pandemic we've seen the mental health needs of our communities increase, and the men and women on the front lines have been there to take care of us every step of the way. This funding will help strengthen our workforce and will make all New Yorkers safer and healthier."

The Federal funding was secured by OMH through both The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) of 2021 and The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021. This legislation provides supplemental funding for mental health services through the time-limited expansion of the Community Mental Health Services (CMHS) Block Grant. 

OMH anticipates issuing guidelines for workforce funds for eligible OMH-licensed outpatient and community support providers and notifying providers of their allocations this month.

Eligible outpatient and community support providers will receive funding to be utilized at their discretion across a number of key spending categories, which include: 

1. Recruitment and Retention Incentives

  •          Retention and hiring bonuses
  •          Longevity pay
  •          Retirement contributions and other fringe benefits
  •          Differential pay
  •          Hazard pay
  •          Relocation incentives

2. Educational Expenses 

  •          Tuition fees for new/existing staff, including college-level professional development courses and continuing education
  •          Exam and application fees for new/existing staff
  •          Courses related to cultural competence and diversity training
  •          Registration fees for conferences 

3. Career Development and Training

  •          Creation, promotion, enhancement of internship, fellowship and/or other career development programs
  •          Collaborations with academic and policy institutions to develop strategies for training of staff
  •          Employee engagement and workforce development strategies such as developing or acquiring training curricula, funding registration fees, and covering expenses for employees to attend or provide training. 

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

Albany: (518) 474 - 8418
New York City: (212) 681 - 4640

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