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Office of Mental Health

Message from the Commissioner

As many of you already know, mental illness is very common and its impact on individuals and families can be profound. In any year, one in ten Americans experience a mental illness serious enough to impact their life at home, school or work. Mental illness is the leading illness-related cause of disability, a major cause of death (via suicide), and a driver of school failure, poor overall health, incarceration and homelessness. The annual loss of productivity in the United States due to depression alone is over $40 Billion.

The good news is that the times are changing. In 1999, the first Surgeon General's report on Mental Health was issued, concluding that “there is no overall health without good mental health.” Since then our nation has taken new steps to address mental health as a societal health issue – such as earlier detection and family-centered care for children, which are now being pioneered in New York.

Recovery is real; people with mental illnesses can live full, productive and meaningful lives in their communities. Care that is early, collaborative, and expert assists in recovery. Therefore, in the Empire State, we should expect access in every community to clinically and culturally competent mental health care that supports recovery.

If you are looking at this web page, you are concerned about mental health and therefore part of a remarkable community of people working to make things better for people with mental illness, their families and our state. I hope this website answers questions you have about mental health and mental illness, New York's public mental health system, and the services and supports that are available throughout the State. If you don't find what you're looking for or if you have concerns or suggestions, please contact us.