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‘State of the State’ prioritizes big investment into mental health

“The state is finally seeing you — and understanding your needs,” said Sen. Samra Brouk

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Governor Kathy Hochul in Albany Tuesday addressed lawmakers and New Yorkers with her ‘State of the State’ address. Public safety, she said, is her number one priority. 

“And a day has not gone by where I’ve not been laser-focused on this objective.  Ah, the pandemic caused so much havoc,” she said

Also, perhaps, re-visiting bail reform. “The bail reform law as written leaves room for improvement,” she said.

She also talked about the economy: helping businesses recover post-pandemic and raising the minimum wage to combat inflation. 

“A majority of economists are predicting a recession. And that’s why one of the reasons that are clear to me: we will not be raising income taxes this year,” she said.

And Tuesday was a big win for mental health in New York— with Hochul pledging $1 billion dollars. 

“This is the crisis after the crisis,” said Senator Samra Brouk, the Chair of the Senate Mental Health Committee. She said post-pandemic, mental health needs are high and resources are strained. 

“This is telling us for the first time in quite a long time we have a governor who is prioritizing mental health,” she said.

That $1 billion will be invested over several years into mental health care needs large and small, and be put into an understaffed workforce. 

“I’m hoping the Governor will work with me to make sure we are paying this workforce what they deserve,” said Brouk.

She said this investment will ensure when you pick up the phone or walk into a clinic, someone will be there to take care of you. 

“The state is finally seeing you and understanding your needs,” said Brouk.

Brouk also responded to the mental health investment with a media statement Tuesday afternoon:

“New Yorkers deserve to rest assured that when they voluntarily seek out mental health care, they will be met with compassionate, culturally competent care that treats them with dignity. I am encouraged that Governor Hochul realizes the need for greater investment in New York’s mental health systems, and that she understands that in order to improve New York’s mental health systems, we must focus on the full continuum of care. However, no changes are possible without a well-trained, well-compensated workforce. Over the past two years, we have provided this workforce with long-overdue cost of living adjustments, but we need to codify this process so that workers know they will receive the compensation they deserve. I’m proud to carry legislation that will do just that, and I look forward to collaborating with the executive to make this a reality. Together, we can ensure that every New Yorker can receive the care they deserve.”

Sen. Samra Brouk speaking to News 8 after the State of the State

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