ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)–The pandemic not only impacted physical health, but mental health.

“20% of people on a given year have a serious mental health issue,” said Glenn Liebman, CEO of the Mental Health Association of New York State. “But the reality is, since the pandemic, that number has skyrocketed.”

Liebman said issues such as anxiety, depression, and isolation from the pandemic are still with us.

The New York State Budget includes $1 billion to help New Yorkers struggling with their mental health.

“My budget that was just enacted, prohibits insurance companies from denying access to critical mental health and substance abuse disorder services,” said Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday. “Now the insurance companies have to cover it. This is going to be a big step in making sure everyone has access to quality health care.”

The budget also allows funding for more clinics.

“Three is not enough in Buffalo. Thirteen is not enough statewide, and we will be tripling the number from thirteen to thirty-nine this year already.

Governor Hochul expects this expansion to help thousands of more people. Money will also go towards school based mental health services.

“We talk about existing services, but we also have to talk about preventative services and where the best preventative services are utilized,” explained Glenn Liebman. “They’re utilized at a young age when people are first being diagnosed or first having mental health crisis or situation. If we address it early, then chances are we are going to see very positive outcomes.”

While Liebman overall likes the mental health funding in the New York State budget, he said he wishes it would have included a bigger increase for cost of living adjustments for those in the health workforce.