By SILE MOLONEY
New York City Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Health + Hospitals announced the launch on Sunday, July 24, of a new student loan forgiveness program for behavioral health care providers, funded by a $1 million contribution dollars from an anonymous donor. The new program is designed to help attract and retain physicians, nurse practitioners and other clinicians who care for New Yorkers with mental health or addictions needs as the United States faces a national shortage of mental health professionals.
“Behavioral health professionals in our public health system work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable New Yorkers living with mental illness and substance use and alcohol disorders,” Adams said during an interview. a press conference at a NYC Health + Hospitals Harlem facility. He added that too often healthcare workers graduate with crushing debt and have no choice but to work in the private sector to pay their bills.
The Mayor continued, “Especially at a time when the country faces a shortage of these life-saving practitioners, and simultaneously faces an increased need for these professionals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this program of Cancellation will help us attract and retain top talent. continue to serve New Yorkers across the city. I am grateful to the anonymous donor for this generous donation, and I encourage other companies and individuals to participate if they are able to support this important cause.
NYC Health + Hospitals will offer psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists and licensed clinical social workers between $30,000 and $50,000 in debt relief in exchange for a three-year commitment to serve the healthcare system public.
In the context of the announcement, NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz MD said, “As we continue to see increasing numbers of New Yorkers struggling with mental health addictions, the essential services of our behavioral health team are needed more than ever. This donation will allow us to recruit and retain extraordinary clinicians to help address the current mental health crisis.
NYC Health + Hospitals officials said the public hospital system provides about half of all behavioral health services for children and adults in New York City. The Loan Forgiveness Program will be available to eligible employees and new hires for the next year or until the $1 million donation has been distributed.
Adriana Rodriguez-Boseman is a clinical social worker at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Roberto Clemente Center and said that from the very beginning of her educational trajectory, she came across a quote that read, “Do what you love, and you will never work. A day in your life.’ “This has been true for me, as my career as a Clinical Social Worker with NYC Health + Hospitals has allowed me to achieve my career goals and feel extremely proud to do so as a public servant in my own city. “, she said. “However, with the cost of these professional goals came a steep price tag. The future is always uncertain, but the loan forgiveness will make those dreams a reality.
Meanwhile, Dr. Charles Barron, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Office of Behavioral Health, NYC Health + Hospitals, said: ‘This loan forgiveness program is a great way to invest in our mental health workforce. With less debt to worry about, our mental health teams can focus on what they do best: providing high-quality mental health support to New Yorkers. »
Early-career psychiatrists have an average of $190,000 in debt in medicine, psychiatric nurse practitioners have an average of $56,000 in debt, social workers have an average of $68,000 in debt, and psychologists have an average of $80,000 of debts.
The news was also welcomed by the New York State Office’s Mental Health Commissioner, Dr. Ann Sullivan. “The national shortage of healthcare workers has impacted facilities and providers across the country, at a time when the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic has heightened the need for services,” she said. declared.
“The anonymous donation announced today by Mayor Adams and NYC Health + Hospitals CEO Mitch Katz will help NYC Health + Hospitals recruit and retain behavioral health professionals, which is great news for residents of New York. Congratulations to Dr. Katz and my sincere thanks to the very generous anonymous donor.
Part of the nation’s largest municipal health care system, NYC Health + Hospitals public hospitals and neighborhood health centers offer a wide variety of excellent mental health services to support recovery from all kinds of mental illnesses. . Additionally, NYC Health + Hospitals offers the highest quality alcohol and substance use recovery programs as part of its behavioral and mental health services, with personalized and thoughtful treatment plans that are effective for each patient.
Dan H. Gillison Jr., CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said if the country is to meet the increased need for mental health services, especially for underserved communities, society needs to talk about developing Workforce. “Loan repayment can help ease the financial burden on mental health professionals, who are already at high risk of burnout, and create more opportunities for people from historically underrepresented communities to join the market.” work,” he said.
“We applaud these efforts to increase the number of practitioners and address the urgent mental health needs facing our communities. If we want more mental health services, we need to invest in the people who provide them.
In other health-related news, amid the current heat wave, the mayor said on Sunday, “We don’t see a medical crisis because of the heat. People take note [heat advisory] seriously.” He added that one heat-related death has been reported.
Meanwhile, the National Weather Service announced Saturday evening that the prevailing heat and humidity would continue through Monday, July 25, with near-record high temperatures possible on Sunday. “A cold front will bring thunderstorms Sunday evening through Monday, and possibly also some relief from the heat and humidity later this week,” an NWS spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, applications for student loan forgiveness for eligible applicants will open beginning Monday, July 25, and New Yorkers can also support this effort by donating directly to NYC Health and Hospitals..
New Yorkers in need of mental health or addictions help can call 844-NYC-4NYC to book an appointment at NYC Health + Hospitals or contact NYC Well online.