State Senator David Carlucci’s appointment as chairman of the Senate committee on Mental Health was announced Thursday. Carlucci (D-Rockland/Westchester) has served as the co-chair of the Senate Administrative Regulations Review Commissions.
Carlucci plans to address the growing number of PTSD cases among soldiers returning from fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan and ways to make sure they receive needed care.
“This is a chance to solve complex problems, beginning with our brave veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan,” he said. “The challenges are real, and as many will face the prospect of PTSD, this is an opportunity to examine new ways to expand healthcare services, including insurance coverage, for those suffering long after they have returned from combat.”
Carlucci, who is serving his second term, acknowledged advocating for those with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities comes with a tremendous responsibility. He said the committee would work to provide better access and care for those who require it.
“So many rely on having access to quality services and programs, and we have an obligation as public servants to fight for those who cannot fight for themselves,” he said. “We must ensure that anyone diagnosed with autism, including their families, have the vital services and support structure that they need.”
Jawonio officials issued a congratulatory to Carlucci on the appointment noting they hope he “will give the special needs community the continuing leadership we need during these transitional times in our challenging corner of the health care world.”
The letter written on behalf of Jawonio CEO Jill Warner additionally stated, “And now, the families of the 38th Senate District will again benefit from you--our own passionate "hometown" Senator who has a true understanding of the critical and essential programs for people with disabilities such as: early childhood services, employment and day services, residential services and behavioral health services throughout our community and New York State.”
Carlucci's predecessor former State Senator Thomas Morahan also chaired the Mental Health Committee for several years. Rockland Independent Living Center Executive Director George Hoehmann said Morahan had been an important and consequential leader in the mental health field and for people with disabilities. He expressed confidence that Carlucci will follow that legacy, noting he has already worked with many organizations focusing on mental health and disabilities.
"My office has had frequent interactions with Senator Carlucci on behalf of people we serve," said Hoehmann. "He's made a point of reaching out to all the agencies."
Hoehmann said the senator has an affinity for people with disabilities and an understanding of their issues from his mother who works at ARC.