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Diminishing New York State's Public Mental Healthcare Sector: The Impact of Austerity and Privatization on Wages and Employment

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Abstract

[Excerpt] This report explores the effects that privatization and austerity have had on mental healthcare capacity in New York State and the employment and wages of public sector mental health workers. Our research finds that both the public sector mental healthcare workforce and the state’s mental healthcare capacity have decreased significantly between 1990 and 2021. The findings strongly suggest that ongoing contraction of the state’s public sector mental health workforce—and the concomitant privatization of mental health work—likely has had (and will potentially continue to create) disparate and negative impacts on mental health workers, their families, and their communities. These negative impacts disproportionately affect women, people of color, and working-class New Yorkers. The analysis strongly suggests that public sector mental health facilities in New York State create good, well-paying union jobs, at all skill levels, and for residents of all racial-ethnic backgrounds; all while more dedicated mental health capacity (e.g., specialized mental health providers and facilities) might mean fewer suicides, fewer instances of hospitalization due to self-harm, and an overall stronger state of mental health across New York.

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Date Issued

2023

Publisher

Cornell University, ILR School, Worker Institute

Keywords

New York State; mental healthcare; public sector; privatization

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Government Document

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report

Accessibility Feature

alternative text; bookmarks; high contract display; reading order; structural navigation; tagged PDF

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none

Accessibility Summary

Accessible pdf

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