Saturday, October 31

Curran Expands Commitment to Mental Health and Public Assistance Resources in 2021 Budget


Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has highlighted commitment to mental health resources for residents in her proposed 2021 budget, as residents continue to experience the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The County’s financial strategy allows for:

  • two additional psychiatric social workers at the Department Human Services to expand the Nassau County Mobile Crisis Team, which aids the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) on 911 calls as needed,
  • added social welfare examiners and caseworkers at the Department of Social Services (DSS),
  • and one new female counselor at the Veteran Services Agency (VSA).

“As our residents continue to cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the heightened need for public assistance services continues,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “Nassau County residents should be assured, there is help and options available. No matter the financial challenges we face, the essential services that our most vulnerable residents rely on, will be prioritized and protected.”

The County anticipates continued increased need for public assistance services provided by the Department of Social Services, especially with the end of the $600 in weekly additional unemployment checks as of the end of July 2020 and limited savings available. As applications for SNAP (food stamps), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Housing assistance have increased during the severe economic crisis from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration intends to add social welfare examiners and caseworkers to process and manage the influx of applications and cases.

Curran’s proposed budget also provides for additional staff to the Department of Human Services of two psychiatric social workers. These new hires will support the proposed added responsibilities for the Nassau County Mobile Crisis Team’s response on 911 emergency calls, assisting the NCPD as necessary. The Nassau County Mobile Crisis Team is always available to assist residents with mental health challenges who appear to be a danger to themselves or others.

In addition, the budget allows for the Veteran Services Agency to add one female counselor to its staff. The new hire must be a veteran in accordance with Civil Service and VSA policy and must be experienced to address the unique mental health needs of female veterans in Nassau County.

“COVID 19 has placed so much strain on people’s mental health evident by a recent CDC report where over 40% of respondents in a study ‘reported as least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition,’ including depression and/or anxiety due to the COVID pandemic,” said Omayra Perez, Nassau County Coordinator of Community Mental Health Services. “Nassau County continues its unwavering efforts to ensure that our residents have the care and resources they need and deserve especially during these difficult times. The County is also actively working with New York State Office of Mental Health to strengthen our partnerships in making mental health services available to all our residents.”


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