Take Action and Let Elected Leaders Know to Prioritize Children’s Behavioral Health!
New York State is facing a children’s behavioral health crisis. The percentage of children who have anxiety or depression in New York grew by 22.5%, from 8.9% in 2016 to 10.9% in 2020. Death by suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth age 15-19 in our state. This crisis was further exacerbated by the many economic and social harms heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nationally, emergency department visits for suicide attempts during the pandemic were 51% greater than pre-pandemic for adolescent girls and 3.7% greater for boys. Half of New York youth with major depressive episodes in the past year did not receive treatment. Our state must address the reality facing so many families every day in our state: finding timely mental health supports for children and adolescents is overwhelming, isolating, exhausting, and often impossible.
The challenges facing New York’s youth and families are driven by decades of chronic disinvestment in the children’s behavioral health system. As the Senate, Assembly, and Governor near the final stages of budget negotiations, it is urgent that the state invests adequate funding directly in services for children and families, including by addressing the shortage of behavioral health providers and the crisisoo of waitlists. If we invest in the policies and programs children and families need now, we can change the trajectory of children’s lives.
We are entering the final days of State Budget negotiations, and we need your help to urge state leaders to invest in children and families. Please take a few moments to send the letter below to your state leaders urging them to take actions to ensure all children in New York can access the behavioral health supports they need.