Josh Millrod, licensed inventive arts therapist, reporting for obligation — together with roughly 2,000 colleagues additionally prepared and in a position to do their half in fixing New York’s psychological well being disaster. That’s, in case you’ll have us, Gov. Hochul.
On this 12 months’s State of the State deal with, Gov. Kathy Hochul addressed how dire issues have gotten in New York. We face unprecedented charges of hysteria, melancholy and trauma, worsening clinician shortages, and an affordability disaster pushed by insurance coverage corporations selecting and selecting what companies they are going to cowl and which clinicians can present them.
In the meantime, on Dec. 30, Hochul signed a landmark invoice to increase psychological well being protection however solely after excluding over 2,000 licensed psychotherapists.
This important piece of laws, years within the making, requires insurance coverage corporations to cowl outpatient companies supplied by licensed psychological well being practitioners — together with psychological well being counselors, marriage and household therapists, psychoanalysts, and, if she had not eliminated us from its provisions, inventive arts therapists. Inventive arts therapists would have represented greater than 14% of this growth till we had been axed within the wee hours of 2022.
Sadly, that is simply one other instance of inventive arts therapists being overlooked of Albany’s efforts to extend entry and affordability by increasing who can present the diagnoses that sufferers must get companies and what licenses are coated by Medicaid.
Licensed inventive arts therapists are psychotherapists who combine music, artwork, dance and motion, drama, and poetry into their scientific work. We endure rigorous coaching in each our inventive modality and verbal psychotherapy. To qualify for my license, I earned a grasp’s diploma at NYU together with a yearlong internship at Bellevue Hospital working with a few of New York’s neediest, obtained nationwide board certification as a music therapist, and accomplished 1,500 hours of supervised scientific work on Rikers Island, the place I developed a trauma-informed hip-hop remedy program for adolescent detainees. Within the final six years, I’ve taken over 125 hours of postgraduate psychotherapy coaching to take care of my license. Nonetheless, Albany will not mandate that insurance coverage corporations cowl my companies or enable me to supply diagnoses for sufferers who want them to entry care.
On the identical time Hochul touts Albany’s renewed dedication to tackling our psychological well being disaster, she unnecessarily restricted the variety of clinicians out there to New Yorkers. Sadly, the clinicians she excluded are sometimes those best-suited to serving sufferers averse or unresponsive to different types of remedy. This last-minute exclusion signifies that my sufferers stay on the whims of their insurance coverage corporations. If they modify jobs, change plans, or their present insurer shifts guidelines, they threat dropping their psychological well being care.
I’ve seen firsthand how inventive arts remedy can change lives. At Rikers Island, I helped adolescent detainees produce tons of of songs telling the tales of their ache, trauma, resilience, and hope. These weren’t music classes; they had been trauma remedy periods that used music as a protected container for the overwhelming ache and struggling that these younger males held of their minds and our bodies. Now, in my personal observe, many purchasers come to me as a result of different therapies haven’t labored or as a result of their traumatic pasts make it laborious to speak with out getting overwhelmed.
I do know little is easy in Albany, however that is easy. Extending inventive arts therapists the identical mandates and privileges granted to our fellow psychological well being practitioners would make 2,000 further certified clinicians out there to New Yorkers in want.
We’re prepared when you’re, Governor.
This visitor essay displays the views of Josh Millrod, a licensed inventive arts therapist and board-certified music therapist in personal observe on Lengthy Island.