Downloadable Documents

Feel free to distribute these documents to others who want to advocate for our professions.
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The following documents are meant to be used when challenging the decision of an insurance company regarding reimbursement issue for your services:
The following documents may be used to advocate for the passage of our diagnosis bill as well as for the passage of other legislation:
Sample Letter to Your State Senator or Assemblyperson:


 Honorable __________ SENATOR, (or Assemblyman)

 NYS SENATE Legislative Office Building, Rm. ___ (or Assembly address)
 Albany, NY 12247 

 Dear Senator ________,

 I am writing to ask you to support and co-sponsor S. 6582 by State Senator Helming which  serves to amend and the scope of  practice of Licensed Mental Health Counselors. I am a  Licensed  Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) and  a member of the New York Mental Health  Counselors  Association (NYMHCA). 
 (Customize) I graduated from State University of New York, College at Brockport with a  Master’s degree in Mental Health Counseling in 2009. 

 I’m currently employed at (fill in your info)

 The ambiguousness of our scope of practice in regard to our authority to diagnose has led  to  significant confusion as to what services Mental Health Counselors can provide to  individuals challenged by mental illnesses. No one will argue that the need for qualified  practitioners who are able to diagnose and treat mental illnesses is increasing as services  are  decreasing. The number of men and women returning home from oversees service with  challenges illustrates the expanding need for quality mental health care. Furthermore, many  Licensed Mental Health Counselors live and practice  in  rural communities and can offer services to those who may have limited or no access to  care. 

 Mental Health Counselors are authorized by law to use classifications of signs and  symptoms such as the Diagnostic Statistical Manual. However, the absence of the term  diagnosis from our scope of practice has led to the need for clarification. I hope that you are  able to support Senator Helming (or Assemblyman Dendekker) in clarifying our scope of  practice and ensure quality mental health care in our communities and throughout NYS. Do  not hesitate to reach out to me or the New York Mental Health Counselors Association for  additional information. We truly appreciate your commitment to increased access to mental  health services. 


 Name, Title, Degree and/or License Address City/State/ Phone/Email address

 [DATE]                                                             SAMPLE Letter Fall 2017

 Honorable [NAME]


 I am writing to share with you our 2017-18 Legislative Priorities and seek your support.

 NYMHCA is the advocacy organization representing licensed mental health counselors (LMHC) of New York State.  NYMHCA is the state branch of the American Mental Health Counselors Association. Mental health counselors are  licensed in New York via the Office of the Professions in the NYS Education Department. There are over 6,330 LMHCs  in NYS. Mental health counseling is the evaluation, assessment, amelioration, treatment, modification or adjustment  to a disability, problem, or disorder of behavior, character, development, emotion, personality or relationship by the  use of verbal or behavioral methods. LMHCs use assessment instruments, provide mental health counseling and  psychotherapy, clinical assessment and evaluation, treatment planning and case management, prevention,  discharge, and aftercare services. After identifying and evaluating mental health problems and related human  development challenges, mental health counselors employ effective methods of counseling and psychotherapy to t  treat individuals with conditions that may include mood disorders including depression, anxiety disorders,  substance abuse, sexual dysfunction, eating disorders, personality disorders, dementia and adjustment disorders.

 NYMHCA support the following legislation:

 •Amend the requirements for licensure to establish the authority for LMHCs to diagnose S.6582/Helming)
 oThis bill will change the requirements for becoming an LMHC to more align with other psychotherapy counseling  professions, such as licensed clinical social workers, so as to permit LMHCs to diagnose. {LCSWs currently have the  authority to diagnose.} 

 •Create a certification to allow school districts to hire LMHCs (A.981 Nolan/S.6002 Marcellino)
 oCurrently the pupil personnel credential does not include LMHCs. This bill would require New York State Education  Department to establish the certification for LMHCs so as to provide school districts with the ability to hire LMHCs  and provide counseling services. 

 •Instruct Civil Service to study the establishment of civil service titles for LMHCs (A.8140/Gunther)
 oCurrently there are no civil service title or pathway for employment in state agencies for LMHCs. This bill would  require the Office of Civil Service to report to the Legislature on the viability of developing a specific civil service title  for LMHCs. 

 Each of these bills open up opportunities for LMHCs to better serve New Yorkers seeking mental health counseling.  As we look at the number of individuals in vulnerable population – elderly, veterans, and youth – looking for mental  health counseling it is clear that we need to open access to qualified practitioners. By increasing the opportunity for  state agencies and school districts to employ LMHCs we increase the availability of services potentially in areas with  shortages. By changing the requirements for licensure to make LMHCs a diagnosis profession, New York increases  the number of qualified practitioners able to diagnose and treat mental illnesses. Each of these bills increases access  in a responsible manner that ensure quality of care as well as accessibility. 

 Thank you for reviewing our legislative priorities. We hope that you will consider becoming a co/multi sponsor of the  bill. Please consider me a resource to you as you consider mental health policies.