Assemblymember Barrett’s Legislation Strengthens Rural Mental Health Services

Assemblymember Didi Barrett (D-Dutchess/Columbia) announced legislation she authored to help reduce the growing rate of suicide across rural New York passed the Assembly (A.6007).

“For too long, our health care system has failed those struggling with mental and behavioral health disorders or suicidal thoughts, especially in the rural areas of our state,” said Barrett. “Challenges in dairy farming, social isolation and shortage of services lead these New Yorkers to suffer in silence. This measure will help us develop a comprehensive suicide and mental health program with a rural focus.”

Barrett’s measure aims to reduce the growing rate of suicide in rural New York by establishing a rural suicide prevention council, which would examine the epidemic and create a comprehensive plan to improve mental health in rural areas.

Suicide is among the top 10 leading causes of death in the United States, and rates are far higher in rural America than in urban America.[1] This can be attributed to many factors, including economic insecurity, social isolation, limited mental health services and higher levels of alcohol and substance abuse. Getting to the root of the problem and approaching preventive measures from many different angles will help more New Yorkers get the help that they need, noted Barrett.