The latest federal stimulus bill does not include enough money for mental health care amid a pandemic that has killed thousands of Americans, created heightened anxiety, and cost millions of jobs, state Sen. Peter Harckham said Friday.
The proposed House version of the fourth stimulus legislation includes $3 billion for mental health — a fraction of what is needed, Harckham said.
“I applaud our representatives in Congress for moving swiftly to shore up state and local governments, health care infrastructure, education and social service programs with this new relief package,” he said. “However, the HEROES Act fails to help the millions of Americans struggling right now with substance use disorder and mental health issues who are already falling between the cracks because of severe underfunding of treatment and care providers.”
New York’s own social services and mental health care spending could be on the chopping block without federal support. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said cuts as high as 20 percent are possible for health care alone.
In April, advocates at the National Council for Behavioral Health and 40 other organizations called for $38.5 billion in mental health funding.
Meanwhile, mental health and addiction centers in the U.S. have lost revenue during these weeks and have seen costs shift to telehealth services.