New York Attorney General Letitia James will hold a public hearing to review the accessibility of mental health care in New York, drawing in members of the public, advocacy organizations and providers, as well as government agencies. 

The hearing is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at One Chase Manhattan Plaza in New York City.

Mental health care concerns have spiked during the two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, and providing services to people who are struggling has been a challenge, James said.  

“There is no doubt that New York is in the midst of a mental health crisis that has only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic,” James said. “For decades, New York has seen a decline of short-term inpatient psychiatric beds, which are critical to providing consistent and thorough mental health care in our communities. With this hearing, I intend to spotlight this crucial issue, explore potential areas of reform, and inform my office for future investigations into allegations of inadequate mental health treatment.”

About 400 in-patient psychiatric beds have been eliminated since the onset of the pandemic as they were converted for COVID-19 needs or for general medical use. Some of the beds were taken out of commission entirely. 

James' office estimates there are less than 5,000 short-term beds set aside for adults who are struggling with mental illness.