By CSEA | May 10, 2021

ALBANY – During this Mental Health Awareness Month, CSEA President Mary E. Sullivan is recognizing the workers who have stepped up to meet an increased demand for mental health services and is calling on New Yorkers to urge the State Legislature to increase statewide treatment options.

“The pandemic created an increase in the need for mental health care in our state,” Sullivan said. “New Yorkers endured so many hardships. People lost their loved ones, their jobs, their homes. The stress, anxiety and depression induced from this crisis and the isolation it caused is real and cannot be ignored.”

According to the New York State Health Foundation, three times more people reported anxiety and depression after the start of the pandemic. The proportion of New Yorkers reporting poor mental health has remained high throughout the pandemic, reaching 37% of adult New Yorkers in October 2020. Outcomes were generally worse for people of color, low-income, and younger New Yorkers.

In April, CSEA chastised state legislators for passing a budget that authorized cutting hundreds of state-operated treatment beds throughout the state.

“Our state legislators shamefully put people’s lives on the line when they voted to pass a budget cutting treatment beds. New Yorkers should rise up and demand more mental health services, not less,” Sullivan said.

CSEA represents tens of thousands of essential workers providing mental health care and support services, through various agencies including the State Office of Mental Health (OMH) and many county mental health departments.

“This past year more than ever, we recognize the dedication and sacrifice of the mental health workers who provided lifesaving treatment for so many New Yorkers during the pandemic. They bravely stepped up, often putting themselves and their families at risk to make sure needed treatment and care was available,” Sullivan said. “CSEA encourages people in our communities across the state to join us during Mental Health Awareness Month in acknowledging those who care for some of our most vulnerable loved ones and demanding more treatment options.”

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About CSEA:

The Civil Service Employees Association (CSEA) is one of New York’s largest and most influential labor unions. CSEA has nearly 300,000 members and represents state, county, municipal, school district, child care, and private sector employees. Formed in 1910, CSEA has improved the lives of hardworking New Yorkers for more than 100 years, and is the largest affiliate of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). For more information, go to CSEANY.org.