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Campaign study urges Albany to address years-long waitlists for life-saving behavioral health supports.

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New York’s Mental Health System for Kids is in Crisis

Across New York State, too many families find it impossible to get the behavioral health (mental health and substance use) services their children desperately need.

  • 1/2

    of New York youth with major depressive episodes in the past year did not receive any treatment.

  • There are only

    28 child psychiatrists

    per 100,100 children in New York. In many counties there are none.

  • 1 in 5

    children in New York have a mental health need

The consequences can be devastating: Children get sicker; schools are overburdened; families are stressed and sometimes broken.

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Hear From Parents/Guardians and Children

  • I had to stop going to therapy because the copay was too high. I needed help, I just couldn’t afford it.

    -Amanda, a young behavioral health activist in Albany

  • I’ve always been depressed, since I was little. I never understood why I was so angry and so sad all the time. I felt like everything about me was disgusting. ​ My dad was a detective. They say that’s the best insurance you’ll ever have… unless you need mental health services. ​ I had thoughts of suicide. I knew I needed help, but it was so difficult to find. A lot of psychiatrists had long waiting lists, some weren’t taking my insurance. I started with a list of providers from my insurance company, but most weren’t accepting new patients. ​ I would have benefited from someone telling me, ‘I’ve been through this and came out at the other side.’ It means more coming from someone who’s been there.

    -Caitlin, a youth peer advocate in Long Island

  • They take these young children and put them in a police car. I went down to the police commissioner and said, ‘You guys need training. Now my son has been handcuffed and strip searched. He’s not a bad kid, he has a mental illness.​ If your child is under 10, there’s just nowhere for them to go. We need more help for young kids.

    -Christina, a mother in Long Island

Hear More From Those Impacted

Join the Campaign

The current behavioral health system for children is under-resourced and unable to respond to the mental health crisis facing New York’s children and youth. We believe New York can fulfill its obligation to New York children and families by ensuring:

  • Access to services

    The state must invest in a continuum of care, adequately funding services so that young people can find the care they need, when and where they need it.

  • Accountability

    Health plans must be held accountable so that children receive the care they are entitled to by state and federal parity laws.

  • Innovation

    New York has exceptional models for prevention, treatment, and clinical care. These models must be brought to scale so they can reach the children who need them.

Contact the Campaign for Healthy Minds Healthy Kids

Get in touch with Campaign for Healthy Minds Healthy Kids to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.