Hearing scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at 2:00 p.m. in Manhattan
NEW YORK – As New York State faces a crisis in mental health care, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced that her office will hold an in-person public hearing to examine the accessibility of care mental health for New Yorkers with serious mental illness. across the state. The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at 2 p.m., and members of the public, advocacy groups, health care providers and government agencies are encouraged to testify.
“There is no doubt that New York is in the midst of a mental health crisis that has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Attorney General James. “For decades, New York has seen a decline in short-term psychiatric inpatient beds, which are essential to providing consistent and thorough mental health care in our communities. With this hearing, I intend to put highlight this critical issue, explore potential areas for reform, and inform my office for future investigations into allegations of inadequate mental health treatment.
Across the state, New York communities are struggling to access mental health care facilities, which has only been made more difficult amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the start of the pandemic, approximately 400 psychiatric inpatient beds have been cut, converted to COVID-related or general medical use, or taken out of service altogether. This year, it is estimated that there are fewer than 5,000 adult acute psychiatric inpatient beds in state hospitals. According to ProPublica, New York has only 274 child and adolescent psychiatric beds. Lack of access to hospital-based psychiatric care leads to increased homelessness, incarceration and more frequent hospital visits. As COVID-related hospital visits decline, emergency departments are overwhelmed with people who need more intensive psychiatric services but cannot access needed psychiatric beds or inpatient services in the community, which can make their illness worse.
Attorney General James is seeking information from patients, families, providers, advocacy organizations and public officials regarding issues faced by people in mental health crisis or with severe chronic mental illness to access mental health services, including inpatient beds and emergency treatment. Using information gained from testimony, Attorney General James is seeking legislative and enforcement solutions to address this crisis affecting New York communities.
The hearing will be held at One Chase Manhattan Plaza, 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY, 10005. Oral testimony for the video hearing will be subject to scheduling constraints. Individuals wishing to testify orally at the hearing must submit their testimony in writing by noon on Tuesday, June 21, 2022. Testimony may be submitted at: ag.ny.gov/mental-health-hearing.
The hearing will be viewable to the public at: ag.ny.gov/livestream.