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Schumer Says COVID-19 Brought Not Just Global Health And Economic Pandemic, But A Mental Health Crisis As Well; With Anxiety, Depression, And Overdose Rates Surging, Schumer Secures Nearly $5B For Mental Health Services 

Now, Schumer Calls On Feds To Get Money Out The Door ASAP And Give Hudson Valley Mental Health Providers The Immediate Help They Need 

Schumer: It’s Time To Address The Silent Side Effect Of COVID - Mental Health

Standing at the Access: Supports for Living Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care, for which Schumer recently secured $4 million for the continuation of mental health and substance abuse services in the City of Newburgh, New York, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer today pushed the federal government to immediately put the $5 billion he secured in the American Rescue Plan to work – and immediately send a portion of the new aid to Orange County.

Schumer explained that Access saw a whopping 83% increase in patients seeking treatment services during the last five months of 2020, compared to the same time period the year before; making it clear that getting this pandemic relief funding out the door is critical for Hudson Valley residents. Schumer said that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) must set up the appropriate programs ASAP to get the aid out the door and to Hudson Valley’s critical mental health providers, like Access.

Schumer was joined by Access Supports for Living CEO Ron Colavito, mental health advocates, and Orange County officials.

“The physical devastation of the pandemic has been widely reported on and acknowledged, but the mental toll of COVID has been an adjacent, hidden pandemic, sparing no age group from children and teens to our elderly,” said Senator Schumer. “Too many of our neighbors are suffering in silence, which is why I fought so hard to make sure the relief bill included dollars to ramp up mental health resources across Orange County. As New Yorkers, we are stronger when we are together, and this historic investment into combatting the mental health crisis will provide the support our most vulnerable residents need to recover.”

Senator Schumer played a critical role in the inception of the Access Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care, securing $2 million back in December of 2018 so the facility could open its doors in May of 2019. A year later, in May of 2020, Schumer learned that Access needed additional federal support to keep its Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care going in the years to come. Taking action, he successfully secured a meeting between Access and SAMHSA to keep the Urgent Care open. Schumer said that this was critically important given that Access offered roughly 5,000 treatment services for Hudson Valley residents in 2020 alone. Following his tireless advocacy, Schumer announced in February of 2021 that he successfully secured $4 million so Access could continue its virtual and in-person operations in Newburgh and Middletown over the next several years. Schumer also pointed to the importance of continuing the nonprofit’s mobile mental health units in Orange, Ulster, and Rockland Counties, making the funding he secured critical for Hudson Valley residents otherwise lacking access to these services during the pandemic.

"Senator Schumer recognizes that now is the time to make real investments into mental health services. That's why he fought to make sure that our Mental Health and Substance Use Urgent Care would keep serving the Hudson Valley long after the lockdowns are over and the masks are put away," said Access Supports for Living CEO Ron Colavito. "We thank Senator Schumer for his leadership in the passage of the American Rescue Plan and applaud his commitment to improving mental health services across the Hudson Valley for the communities that we serve." 

Schumer stressed the importance of combatting the mental health crisis exacerbated by the pandemic, citing a study from the Kaiser Family Foundation that said during the pandemic, about 4 in 10 adults have reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, up from 1 in 10 adults who reported the same symptoms less than a year ago. Amongst COVID survivors as well, it has been reported that 1 in 3 patients were diagnosed with a brain or psychiatric disorder within six months of physical recovery, indicating that the mental health effects of COVID will last well beyond the end of the pandemic.

“This is a critical moment where we must acknowledge the lasting mental effects of the pandemic and work to combat them before the crisis deepens,” Schumer added. “HHS must stand up their programs ASAP and begin the hard, but important, work of getting these funds out to support our most vulnerable New Yorkers.”

More details on how the Schumer-secured nearly $5 billion will be divided, appear below:

  • $1.5 billion for Community Mental Health block grant and $1.5 billion for Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant , which are funds sent directly to community organizations to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment and services, such as screening, day treatment programs, emergency services, outpatient treatment and more.
  • More than $1 billion for a new federal program to create mobile crisis intervention services, which are dispatched when a person is experiencing a mental health or substance use disorder crisis. These services can work closely with law enforcement and help protect both patients and police officers.
  • $140 million for mental health needs of doctors, nurses and health care providers, who have struggled with PTSD and exhaustion during the pandemic:$420 million for Certified Community Behavioral Health Center Grants, which expand access to timely, coordinated mental health treatment in community-based clinics
    • $80 million for health care professional mental health programs
    • $20 million for a national evidence-based education and awareness campaign targeting health care professionals and first responders
    • $40 million for grants for health care providers to promote mental and behavioral health among their health professional workforce.
  • $140 million for youth mental health$100 million to the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training Program to expand access to behavioral health services through focused training for behavioral health professionals
    • $80 million for pediatric mental health care access
    • $10 million for the National Childhood Traumatic Stress Network
    • $50 million for SAMHSA youth mental health services and suicide prevention
  • $30 million for community-based overdose prevention programs, syringe services programs, and other harm reduction services

Schumer noted this funding is on top of the $4.5 billion in mental health funding he secured in the December COVID relief bill.

Schumer also briefly discussed other wins for the Hudson Valley in the American Rescue Plan. Out of the estimated more than $100 billion headed to New York, the Hudson Valley will receive:

  • Approximately $453 million in direct payments for more than an estimated 182,000 households in Orange County.
  • More than $12.38 million going in state and local aid towards the city of Middletown, $21.76 million going towards the city of Newburgh, $0.94 million going towards the city of Port Jervis and over $74.66 million going directly to Orange County 
  • $4,050,393 for Stewart International Airport

The Hudson Valley will also receive a sizable portion of the following funds:

  • Medicaid FMAP Increase: $2.7 Billion($2.1 billion already delivered from Schumer pushing President Biden to extend through the end of the calendar year, in addition to approximately 600 million from a targeted enhanced FMAP for home and community-based services from this legislation)
  • Amtrak Relief: $1.7 Billion (Relief for Amtrak to help maintain operations and other expenditures during the pandemic, especially in New York.)
  • Airline Payroll Support Program Enhancement: $15 Billion (The CARES Act Airline Payroll Support Program which will save thousands of New York airline and airline contractor jobs by keeping workers on payroll without furloughs or reducing pay rates and benefits until March 31, 2021 New York will receive sizable share of these funds.)
  • Child Care and Help for NY Families: $5.3 Billion
  • Enhanced Unemployment Benefits for NYers: $21.7 Billion
  • New Covid-19 Vaccine Procurement and Testing: $4 Billion
  • Small Business, Restaurant, and Live Venue Relief: $57.8 Billion
  • Broadband Connectivity: $632 Million