NYC to offer student debt relief to behavioral health

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — New York City is launching a new student loan forgiveness program for behavioral health providers, thanks to a $1 million anonymous donation.

Mayor Eric Adams and NYC Health + Hospitals announced Sunday that the new debt relief program, called Behavioral Health Loan Repayment Program (BH4NYC) will help attract and retain doctors, nurse practitioners, and other clinicians who care for New Yorkers with mental health needs or substance use disorders.

“The behavioral health professionals in our public health system work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable New Yorkers living with mental illness and alcohol and substance use disorders,” said Adams. “Too often, these health care workers graduate with crippling debt and have no choice but to work in the private sector to pay off their bills. Especially at a time when the nation is facing a shortage of these lifesaving practitioners, and simultaneously facing an increased need for these professionals due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this loan forgiveness program will help us attract and retain top talent to continue serving New Yorkers across the city.”

NYC Health + Hospitals will offer psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, psychologists, and licensed clinical social workers between $30,000 and $50,000 of debt relief in exchange for a three-year commitment to serve the public health system.

It will be available to eligible employees and new hires for the next year or until the $1 million donation has been distributed.

Applications open Monday at

Applications will be accepted in two rounds — from July 25-Nov. 25, 2022, and Jan. 1-May 1, 2023 — for current employees, and reviewed the second and last Friday of each month for new applicants. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Eligible applicants must commit to working a minimum of three years full-time at NYC Health + Hospitals. Physicians will be eligible for a maximum of $50,000 in loan forgiveness and non-physician clinicians will be eligible for a maximum of $30,000 in loan forgiveness.

The program ends when the city reaches $1 million in total loans forgiven and is limited to one year.

“As we continue to see an increasing number of New Yorkers struggling with mental health and substance use disorder, the essential services of our behavioral health team are needed more than ever,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz. “This donation will allow us to recruit and retain extraordinary clinicians to help address the ongoing mental health crisis.”

Here is who qualifies for the debt relief program:

  • Graduated from a relevant degree program—including those from outside the United States. (Programs accredited by your discipline’s Commission)
  • Are licensed and/or board-certified within five years of completing training. Board certification requirement might be waived in some cases.
  • Are in good standing with your clinical discipline’s licensing body.
  • Are committed to working full-time for NYC Health + Hospitals for at least three years.
  • Are a physician with a minimum of $50,000 in school loan debt.
  • Are a non-physician clinician with a minimum of $30,000 school loan debt.
  • Are not participating in or receiving loan forgiveness from another source.
  • Have never received loan forgiveness or repayment through employment from NYC Health + Hospitals.
  • Are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident alien holding an I-155 or I-551 card.

According to the city, the city’s public hospital network provides about half of all behavioral health services for children and adults in New York City.

As part of the largest municipal health care system in the nation, NYC Health + Hospitals’ public hospitals and neighborhood health centers offer a wide variety of excellent mental health services to foster recovery from mental illness of all kinds, according to New York City. Additionally, NYC Health + Hospitals provides the high-quality alcohol and substance use recovery programs as part of its behavioral and mental health services, with personalized, caring treatment plans that are effective for each patient.

There are currently no NYC Health + Hospital public hospitals on Staten Island. There is a health center in Stapleton, NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Vanderbilt, located at 165 Vanderbilt Ave., and a long-term care facility at NYC Health + Hospitals/Sea View, located at 460 Brielle Ave.

New Yorkers who need support for mental health or substance use can call 844-NYC-4NYC for an appointment at NYC Health + Hospitals or contact NYC Well online.


Debt Relief