In a press release on Thursday, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul announced $4 million in funding for mental health programs at SUNY and CUNY schools, including Binghamton University.

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SUNY and CUNY will each receive $2 million in federal funding to support underrepresented students enrolled in mental health degree programs. The money will go towards tuition assistance, paid internships and direct stipends for minority and multilingual students. The intent of the funding is to address the lack of diversity in the mental health field which leads to disparities treatment options for marginalized populations.

In her press release, Governor Hochul stated "As we continue to strengthen our health care system in New York, we must ensure that we build a diverse and inclusive workforce. This partnership will provide incentives for underrepresented students to enroll or remain in mental health programs, helping diversify our future workforce and ensure that all communities are well-served by our public health care system."

According to the American Psychiatric Association, marginalized populations often suffer poor mental health outcomes because of the inaccessibility of high quality mental health care services in addition to stigmas, discrimination and overall lack of awareness about mental health.

According to research done by Zippia, over 80% of mental health care professionals are white, followed by Hispanic or Latino at 9.1% and African American at 6.7%. That means that members of a marginalized population might have a very difficult time finding a mental health care professional they feel they can relate to, making them less likely to actually obtain mental health care. This federal funding for SUNY and CUNY schools would incentivize more members of marginalized communities to enter the mental health care field, benefitting other members of those communities that want to seek out mental health services.

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