NEW CITY, N.Y. -- With the deadline to file New York State income taxes quickly approaching, State Sen. David Carlucci (D–Rockland/Westchester) announced Wednesday that there is still time for New Yorkers who have yet to file their state income taxes to make a donation designed to end the stigma of mental illness.
The tax check-off box, seen on income tax forms as The Mental Illness Anti-Stigma Fund, was signed into law on Nov. 21, 2015 and was sponsored by Carlucci. Prior to its enactment, the bill to create the Mental Illness Anti-Stigma Fund had been pursued by mental health advocates for years, but now New Yorkers have a way to support mental health educational programs and services.
This law is the first of its kind in the nation as it relates to providing funding to support anti-stigma education. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recognized Carlucci's law in its 2015 review of mental health legislation from across the country, designating it as New York State's only mental health law last year to earn a Gold Star for being innovative and exceptional.
All donations collected from taxpayers will be administered through the New York State Office of Mental Health, organizations or non-profits.
"As New Yorkers hurry to fill out their taxes before the April 18 deadline, it's important they realize how they can help contribute to ending the stigma of mental illness by making a tax-deductible donation. The stigma of mental illness prevents those suffering in silence from getting the treatment that they need, but now we can utilize a permanent funding source for programs, services and public service announcements that break down these hurtful stigmas," said Senator Carlucci.
“Everyone is either directly or indirectly impacted by mental illness. The stigma and discrimination of the illness plays a significant role in people not receiving the help they may desperately need. This landmark legislation provides a great opportunity to break down the walls of stigma and discrimination of mental illness by donating to an anti-stigma fund,” said Glenn Liebman, chief executive officer of the Mental Health Association in New York State, Inc.
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