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Mental health services for students included in NYS budget

Governor Kathy Hochul is seeking to expand mental health services in schools as mental health issues among adolescents reach record rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that schools should be a strong resource for struggling students. To this end, Hochul is looking to increase Medicaid payment rates for satellite clinics within schools and invest $10 million in enhancing wrap-around services in school buildings. There is also a push to use an additional $10 million in grant money for suicide prevention programs for high-risk youth.

In a statement earlier this month, Governor Hochul said, “We give them [students] a good education, but if we don’t start thinking about them now and investing in them now, giving them preventative care now. Having people embedded in our schools now to identify this, then we are setting these kids up for failure.”

The proposed budget for 2024 includes these initiatives and was the subject of a joint hearing of the Senate and Assembly last week. The Legislature will convene several times to negotiate the details of the budget. Senator Joseph Griffo of the Mohawk Valley region noted that while it is a significant challenge, the recognition of the issue is an important first step, and allocating resources will make a difference.