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NY invests $5.1M in school-based mental health clinics

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul has announced a $5.1 million investment to establish 137 school-based mental health clinic satellites across New York State, focusing particularly on high-needs schools. This funding, administered by the New York State Office of Mental Health, is part of Hochul’s comprehensive $1 billion plan to overhaul the state’s mental health care system. Of the total, $8.3 million is dedicated to supporting and expanding these clinics.

The initiative aims to provide young New Yorkers with accessible mental health services in a familiar, stigma-free school environment. Licensed providers will receive $25,000 per clinic to set up services in schools across the state. An additional $20,000 per school is allocated for high-needs schools, defined as those where over 50% of students come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. This effort will boost the total number of school-based clinics in New York to approximately 1,200.

These satellite clinics, integral to each school’s community, will offer regular services by mental health practitioners during the school week. They are designed to identify mental health issues in children early on and to engage families who might not otherwise seek mental health support. Governor Hochul highlighted the importance of these clinics during her visit to the Leadership and Public Service High School in Tribeca, where New York Foundling will establish a clinic with a $45,000 grant from the program.

Governor Hochul’s administration has made youth mental health a key focus, evidenced in the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget. The budget includes $30 million for expanding mental health services for school-aged children, with $20 million specifically for school-based services. Additionally, Hochul’s plan includes a 25% increase in Medicaid rates for school-based mental health programs and clinics. This comprehensive approach aims to improve access to mental health services for children and adolescents across New York State.