ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health (CBHNY) has responded to Ellis Hospital’s temporary closure of their inpatient adolescent mental health unit, to offer assistance to Capital Region families. On Friday, Ellis Hospital notified staff members of their decision due to the severity of children’s mental health workforce shortages.

According to CBHNY, they are ready to assist the community in any way they can by offering to work with partners at the New York State Office of Mental Health Department to help secure appropriate, safe treatment alternatives for the children in crisis in Schenectady County and beyond. The Ellis Hospital children’s mental health unit will effectively close on Monday, May 2. 

CBHNY said they will continue to reach out to a network of providers to ensure no child slips through the cracks during this time. CBHNY is calling on support from state legislatures to enact immediate legislation that expands the scope of practice for the over 10,200 licensed mental health counselors and family therapists working in New York right now.

Additionally, CBHNY is urging the State Legislature to enact mental health workforce investments by quickly implementing rate increases, wage hikes, and bonus payments. These actions would recognize the value of mental health professionals serving children while promoting further workforce development they said.

“The State Legislature is considering legislation to authorize licensed mental health counselors and family therapists to provide more clinical services, we urge them to put the needs of children first and consider the human cost of families not being able to access treatment for their children,” said Andrea Smyth, the President & CEO of the NYS Coalition for Children’s Behavioral Health.