FTC RecordNews


By Brandon Laxton

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced on Friday, March 10th, that $10 million is now available to help improve the state’s mental health services, following the groundwork laid out in her $1 billion plan announced in February. 

The primary goal is to overhaul the mental health care system in New York State through various methods – such as expanding the quality and availability of services for treatments. Over the next five years, the $10 million will be split between two separate networks supporting children and families. “New Yorkers who struggle with mental illness deserve a system of care that is suited for and responsive to their needs,” Governor Hochul said in a press release. Both networks will connect interested people with peers, advocates, and other resources – such as education or training – to promote healthy and safe solutions to mental health challenges.


Different mental health problems. (Photo: Pixabay)


Any advocacy groups interested in receiving funding must do the following:

  • Pass the eligibility requirements. 
  • Submit a proposal to the Office of Mental Health Issuing Officer Carol Swiderski (due by April 26th at 1:00 pm ET).
  • Be registered with the New York State Grants Gateway System (GGS). To apply for the GGS, click here


Depending on which network you are applying for, there are different requirements. To be eligible for the Statewide Network for Youth Peer Support and Advocacy, applicants must be a not-for-profit youth/peer-oriented organization anywhere in the state:

  • Must have “at least two youth/youth peer representatives on organization’s Board who are currently in receipt of or have self-identified as having been a recipient of mental health services in one or more child-serving system(s) prior to the age of 21.” 
  • A mission/goal that describes your organization’s services (centered around promoting peer advocacy/support for children with mental health needs and their families).
  • Programs directed and supervised by youth peers or adult peer allies who were youth peers/advocates and staffed by young people (under 30) who have received mental health services.
  • To see the full list of requirements, click here (see section 2.5). 


Support groups are an effective way to deal with mental health struggles. (Photo: RosZie| Pixabay.com)


To be eligible for the Statewide Structure and Network for Family Support and Advocacy, applicants must be a not-for-profit family-run organization anywhere in the state:

  • Family-run organizations must have at least half of their board members serving as “primary caregivers of children currently under age 21 who are receiving children’s mental health services and who have social, emotional, behavioral (mental health) challenges.” 
  • A mission/goal that describes the services your organization is offering (centered around promoting family-to-family peer advocacy/support for families whose children suffer from mental health issues).
  • A “large portion” of employees are family members. However, this does not mean a majority of the employees. The types of roles they occupy will also be considered.
  • To see the full list of requirements, click here (see section 2.5).

Taking charge of your mental health requires active effort and proactive behavior. However, this is not an easy process for everyone. According to a 2023 report by the State of Mental Health in America, “more than 2.7 million youth are experiencing severe major depression,” and 60% of children with major depression do not get treated for it. These statistics are largely due to the shortage of proper resources available. A 2022 study conducted by the Pew Research Center revealed that “just over half of US public schools (55%) provided students with diagnostic mental health assessments to evaluate them for mental health disorders during the 2019-20 school year.”

With the additional funding provided by Governor Hochul, both peer advocacy networks can offer tremendous benefits to those struggling with mental health issues. New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan said, “Their own personal and professional experiences with the healthcare system give them a unique perspective that can help us to improve the delivery of services and the development of programs serving children with mental health concerns and their families.” Over time, these networks can give patients a safe space to express their feelings and fears, gain insight into what is causing their issues, and help them learn how to manage their symptoms effectively.


Mental health matters. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. (Photo: geralt | Pixabay.com)


If you or a loved one are in need of mental health support, it’s important to speak with your doctor for advice and direction. You can also find information about mental health services in New York State on the Office of Mental Health website.

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