June 24, 2022 – New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has signed into law a vital piece of legislation that will improve access to much-needed mental health services for countless New York youth and families.

The legislation, S9449/A6008E, standardizes mental health licensing requirements to allow nearly 10,000 qualified mental health practitioners to diagnose and develop treatment plans to help with the increased demand for mental health treatment across New York State.

Hillside has been a leader in advocating for this legislation to become law, and President and Chief Executive Officer Maria Cristalli (pictured above center) today praised the Governor and Senator Samra Brouk (55th District, left) and Assemblymember Harry Bronson (138th District) for making it a long-awaited reality.

“This is an important day for New York State’s mental health services community – including thousands of hard-working and highly skilled practitioners, and especially the countless vulnerable youth and families who will benefit from increased access to essential diagnostic and treatment services,” Cristalli said. “Hillside is deeply grateful to Assemblymember Bronson, Senator Brouk and Governor Hochul for their leadership on behalf of the children, adults and families of New York.”

Hillside and peer organizations have been operating under an exemption that would have expired today without the Governor’s action. “This law provides consistency for the Hillside workforce and the youth and families we serve,” Cristalli said.

She also praised all of Hillside’s licensed professionals and their commitment to caring for children and families.

Earlier this month, Hillside hosted a joint announcement by Senator Brouk and Assemblymember Bronson to announce the passage of the legislation. There, Cristalli cited the long waitlist of mental health services for vulnerable young people that has only grown dramatically worse in recent years.

“Before the COVID-19 pandemic, access to child and family mental health services was insufficient to meet the demand for those services. Now, children are being affected like never before,” Cristalli said.

The law, said Assemblymember Bronson, “will help our families, it will help our children, and it will save lives.”

“This is about helping vulnerable folks who need help,” Sen. Brouk added.

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