Priorities of the Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids Youth/Caregiver Council

Budget Analysis & Priorities

February 22, 2023

The Healthy Minds, Healthy Kids Campaign appreciates proposals to significantly increase behavioral health funding in this year’s Executive Budget. Yet we must confront the reality that families across the state continue to experience a devastating crisis in their inability to access the behavioral care they need for their children. Waitlists for mental health services are excruciatingly long, leaving families waiting months for services that their children need today. Children with serious mental health needs are ending up in Emergency Rooms and hospitals, and are then being discharged into communities that don’t have the mental health resources to support them. Families were desperate long before the pandemic, but COVID-19 has only worsened the mental health of young people and the barriers to accessing care.

A crisis of this magnitude requires a proportionate response, and we are eager to work with the Governor’s office and the Legislature to identify how to best create a system that can meet the urgent needs of children and families. Below are recommendations for actions state leaders must take in the FY24 State Budget to strengthen access to behavioral health services for children.

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