May 1, 2024
Albany, NY

Governor Hochul Proclaims May ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ Throughout New York State

Governor Hochul Proclaims May ‘Mental Health Awareness Month’ Throughout New York State

State Buildings and Landmarks to be Illuminated in Green on May 1 to Raise Awareness and Reduce Stigma

Highlights Nation-Leading $1 Billion Plan to Strengthen the Mental Health Care System

Governor Kathy Hochul today recognized May as Mental Health Awareness Month throughout New York State, issuing a proclamation, and directing that 15 state buildings and landmarks be illuminated in green at dusk this evening to raise awareness around mental and behavioral health care. The lighting highlights the Governor’s landmark $1 billion mental health plan, which adds capacity system-wide, expands existing programs with a record of success, funds new evidence-based initiatives and increases direct engagement at every stage of service over multiple years.

“Nearly every New Yorker has either experienced or known someone who has struggled with a mental health challenge,” Governor Hochul said. “Today, as we mark Mental Health Awareness Month in New York, we acknowledge these struggles, commit to eliminating stigma, and renew our efforts to ensure that people are best equipped to lead happy, productive lives.”

The recently adopted FY 2025 Enacted Budget continues Governor Hochul’s strong commitment to strengthening the state’s mental health care system and improving access for all New Yorkers. The budget includes $20 million to continue expanding school-based mental health clinic satellites, $19 million to provide critical care to young people outside of school environments, $33 million to build supports for individuals living with a mental illness who are involved in the criminal justice system, and $55 million to add 200 inpatient beds at state-operated psychiatric centers.

Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Mental Health Awareness Month provides us with an opportunity to engage in conversations about mental illness, reduce stigma, and encourage New Yorkers of all ages to know they can get the help they need, when and where they need it. Anyone can call 988 and speak with a counselor anytime day or night. Governor Hochul continues to make mental health a priority and has dramatically expanded care for all New Yorkers, especially those most in need.”

The Office of Mental Health released a series of affirmational videos to encourage and empower New Yorkers to improve their mental health and well-being. The agency is now asking other New Yorkers to share the phrase that helps them maintain a positive outlook each day, with those submissions being used to create additional videos that will be shared via the agency’s social media accounts throughout the year.

OMH has also produced an online calendar of events occurring statewide in conjunction with Mental Health Awareness Month. Additionally, Dr. Sullivan issued a video message encouraging New Yorkers to monitor their mental wellbeing and to take steps to get help when needed, including reaching out to their primary care physician or the state’s 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Governor Hochul also directed 15 landmarks be illuminated in green – the color that has come to symbolize mental health awareness – tonight, on Wednesday, May 1, including:

  • 1WTC
  • Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
  • Kosciuszko Bridge
  • The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
  • State Education Building
  • Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
  • Empire State Plaza
  • State Fairgrounds – Main Gate & Expo Center
  • Niagara Falls
  • Albany International Airport Gateway
  • MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station
  • Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
  • Moynihan Train Hall
  • Grand Central Terminal - Pershing Square Viaduct
  • Walkway Over the Hudson State Historic Park

Key initiatives like Youth Assertive Community Treatment teams, which provide wraparound services and support to young people at risk of entering residential or inpatient psychiatric treatment, will be expanded with $9.6 million to continue serving them at home and within their community whenever possible. An additional $4 million will support a loan forgiveness program specifically for licensed mental health clinicians serving children and families.

Governor Hochul also proposed new regulations to establish network adequacy standards for behavioral health services for insurers. These regulations propose to establish appointment wait times for mental health and substance use disorder services, and when an in-network provider is not available within those standards, require insurers to allow access to an out-of-network provider at no additional cost.

Governor Hochul’s landmark $1 billion plan to strengthen New York’s mental health care system has provided the funding needed to open new programs, expand effective initiatives and develop thousands of units of specialized housing to serve individuals living with mental illness. This plan is now helping to build early intervention and youth programs; expand access to behavioral health clinics and housing; and provide employment incentives for mental health care workers, while also improving insurance coverage, and adding hospital capacity so that the most seriously ill can receive the care they require.

Contact the Governor’s Press Office

Contact us by phone:

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


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