NYS Attempting to expand mental health services with certification change

[anvplayer video=”5114487″ station=”998131″]

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) – If you’re a parent and you’re looking for mental health help for your child, you know there’s just not enough of it available. There is a statewide shortage of mental health experts that seems to only be getting worse.

Because of the shortage, NYS has allowed Mental Health Counselors, Marriage and Family Therapists, and Psychoanalysts to diagnose and prescribe treatment for patients within certain settings. But the exemption that has allowed them to do so was set to sunset on June 24, 2022, which would have meant only Licensed Clinical Social Workers, Licensed Psychologists and Physicians would be authorized to diagnose patients—further delaying treatment for thousands of patients.

In the recently passed NYS budget, a bill sponsored by Rochester-area Assemblymember Harry Bronson and Senator Samra Brouk will modernize the education of mental health providers and the scope of their practices. It will continue to allow them to diagnose mental health illnesses and make treatment plans.

“We have 1,000 children and families on our waiting list to receive services, our workforce has always been challenged but it is at crisis proportions,” explains Maria Cristalli, the President and CEO of Hillside Family of Agencies.

“This indeed will help our families, it will help our children and it will save lives,” Assembly Member Bronson said at a press conference on Thursday. “Far too many of our children have suicide ideation, far too many of them actually attempt, and far far far too many of them are successful in those attempts so, we are literally going to save lives.”

The bill was passed in the NYS budget and is currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.