The Mental Health Project lobbies the city and state governments for critical services and equal treatment for people with psychiatric disabilities in New York. In addition, we testify at hearings, run town hall meetings for government and agency officials to talk to mental health consumers, and publish reports on substantive legislative issues. Our primary areas of concern are housing, government benefits, patients' rights to discharge planning, and criminal justice.
MHP Submits Comments to SSA Addressing Needs of Homeless SSI Recipients
On March 12, 2012, MHP and Queens Legal Services submitted comments to SSA regarding the needs of homeless individuals receiving Supplement Security Income (“SSI”) benefits. The comments recommend that SSA eliminate the rule that limits payments of SSI to individuals in public homeless shelters to six months for every nine-month period. Other recommendations include expediting the applications of homeless claimants, and that SSA take into account the conditions and effects of homelessness at various stages of the application process.
MHP Submits Comments to SSA Regarding Its Proposed Changes to the Medical Criteria for Evaluating Mental Disorders
On November 17, 2010, MHP submitted comments to SSA regarding proposed revisions to the medical criteria it uses to evaluate mental disorders for applicants for Social Security disability and Supplement Security Income benefits. The comments applauded several positive changes proposed by SSA, but urged the agency to provide more clarity and to abandon certain proposed revisions that would be overly restrictive.
MHP Submits Comments to SSA Regarding Its Drug Addiction and Alcoholism Policies
On March 30, 2009, MHP submitted comments to SSA regarding how it
determines whether drug addiction or alcoholism is a factor material
to a determination of disability. The comments urged SSA to retain
instructions that ensure that individuals with a disabling mental
illness and a co-occurring drug or alcohol addiction are not denied
Read the comments
PREVIOUS LEGISLATIVE SUCCESSES
MHP Works to End Solitary Confinement of People with Mental Illness in NY State Prisons
Since 2003, MHP has advocated for a law to end the barbaric practice of putting people with severe mental illness in solitary confinement in so-called “Special Housing Units” (SHU). In January 2008, New York enacted the SHU Exclusion Law, which restricts the placement of prisoners with serious mental illness in disciplinary confinement. Although the law was enacted in 2008, it did not take effect until July 1, 2011.
The law requires prisons to provide treatment to people with serious mental illness instead of placing them in SHU. Furthermore, they must greatly expand the mental health training provided to correctional officers. The legislation also gives the NYS Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (CQC) responsibility for oversight of prison mental health care.
Many thanks to all of the people in the Mental Health Alternatives to Solitary Confinement (MHASC) coalition, who made this victory possible.
For more information about MHP’s continued advocacy regarding solitary confinement, check out our Community Education page.