March 5, 2022
New York’s Behavioral Health System for Children is in Crisis
Across New York State, too many families find it impossible to get the mental health and substance use disorder services their children desperately need. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for children age 15-19, and the third leading cause of death for children ages 5-14. Over half of children in New York diagnosed with a mental/behavioral health condition do not receive the treatment they need.
An under-resourced children’s behavioral health system leads sick kids to become sick adults, and the human and financial costs are felt by families, the State’s healthcare systems, and communities more broadly. All children have a right to receive the behavioral health supports they need, when they need them. However, our state cannot improve the health and wellbeing of its children, nor can it truly contain Medicaid costs, if it continues to not only fail to invest, but to repeatedly cut funding for children’s behavioral health care.