May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to increase understanding of the challenges faced by those living with behavioral health conditions, as well as their loved ones. It is also a time when we work as a community to help reduce the stigma so many New Yorkers with behavioral health conditions continue to experience. As a licensed family therapist practicing in Smithtown, I see first hand the importance of this month.
To commemorate Mental Health Awareness Month, the New York Marriage & Family Therapy Network and other behavioral health experts are joining with substance-use disorder care advocacy organizations from throughout the state to call on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to continue his important efforts to improve access to care both during the pandemic and beyond — including encouraging those who need support to reach out for it and his waiving commercial insurance co-pays and deductibles for essential workers. We applaud the governor; his actions demonstrate his understanding of the importance of being able to access care. But there is still more to do.
Cuomo needs to improve access to behavioral health care by making licensed practitioners such as family therapists and mental health counselors eligible for coverage under New York’s Medicaid program and employer-based health plans. We hope he will do so immediately to address the skyrocketing known incidents of COVID-19-related domestic violence, child abuse, elder abuse, drug overdoses, death by suicide, anxiety, depression, and coping disorder — as well as untold cases yet to be identified.
Davies’ cartoon was a cut above
I enjoy all of Matt Davies’ political cartoons, but his “Perhaps the parameters of ‘essential worker’ should be revisited” really hit the spot. I am beginning to look like the woman in the cartoon, now three weeks past when I should have had my last haircut. A friend with a golden retriever has offered to cut my hair with her dog clippers. If she does, I’ll send Davies a picture for another one of his wonderful cartoons.
Mary K. Chelton,
Suggestions for reimagining New York
Now that Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo began his path down Reimagine New York, I would like to submit some ideas for consideration as goals [“Backlash on billionaires’ role in vision,” News, May 11]. First, I would like us to imagine New York not being the highest-taxed state in the union. Or not having the terrible performing MTA be the highest cost transportation in the nation. Or not having the cost of bridges to New Jersey be a small fortune. Or stopping the flight of our fellow citizens, including our kids, out of the state in record numbers because they can’t afford to stay. Just Imagine!