Written by Nick Reisman for Spectrum News on May 7, 2020

Rep. Elise Stefanik in a letter sent this week to top House lawmakers called for federal funding that would support mental health care resources and suicide prevention.

Stefanik in the letter urges $61 million for funding the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. In a separate letter, the North Country Republican also called for mental health needs of front line health care workers who are treating COVID-19 patients.

“The COVID-19 outbreak has presented numerous challenges not only for our essential healthcare workers, but for many people struggling with mental health issues,” Stefanik said in a statement. “It is imperative that we provide adequate resources and funding in any forthcoming legislative packages to support suicide prevention and help our communities address this crisis on all fronts. The provisions and funding outlined in these two letters will ensure struggling individuals have access to the resources they need. I will continue to advocate for initiatives like these in order to help our North Country communities respond to and recover from this crisis.”

At the state level, meanwhile, mental health advocates urged Gov. Andrew Cuomo to not cut services and funding. Glenn Liebman, the CEO of the Mental Health Association of New York State, wrote in a letter to the governor that funding from the federal government will be key.

“Without additional federal funding, we are very concerned about what this will mean for all New Yorkers,” he wrote. “The State’s updated financial plan identifies the devastation of the cuts. We will all be dramatically impacted and the pain of lost and delayed services will be unmistakable.”

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