New York attorney general plans mental health care hearing

New York Attorney General Letitia James will hold a public hearing to examine the accessibility of mental health care in New York, drawing members of the public, advocacy organizations and providers, as well as government agencies.

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at One Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City.

Mental health issues have increased over the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing services to those struggling has been a challenge, James said.

“There’s no question that New York is in the midst of a mental health crisis that has only gotten worse during the COVID-19 pandemic,” James said. “For decades, New York has seen a decline in short-term psychiatric inpatient beds, which are essential to providing consistent and thorough mental health care in our communities. With this hearing, I intend to put highlight this critical issue, explore potential areas for reform, and inform my office for future investigations into allegations of inadequate mental health treatment.

About 400 psychiatric inpatient beds have been cut since the start of the pandemic as they were converted for COVID-19 needs or for general medical use. Some of the beds have been taken out of service entirely.

James’ office estimates that there are less than 5,000 short-term beds reserved for adults with mental illness.

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