Advocates want expanded mental health services in New York

NEW YORK (PIX11) – A sobering fact about the mental health crisis in New York is that lately it seems like you don’t have to go far to (meet) someone who is homeless in the metro and admits to having received psychiatric treatment on several occasions. again.

PIX11 News spoke to Patricia, whose face we are blurring to protect her privacy, at a Manhattan subway station on Friday night.

She was calm and kind. But New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said there were too many people like Patricia who were routinely arrested by police instead of receiving treatment from trained mental health professionals.

“It is vital to treat mental crisis as a public health problem. There are fewer mobile crisis teams now than in 2019,” Williams said.

On Friday, Williams released an update to her 2019 analysis and reported on what City Hall could improve its response to the mental health crisis.

He said the previous de Blasio administration ignored his recommendations. However, Williams added that the Adams administration was making progress, albeit slowly.

Among the lawyer’s latest recommendations:

  • Extend the opening hours of the “mobile crisis teams”
  • Create a “non-police/police” phone number for people in mental health crisis
  • Fund and build more supportive housing with full services

“I wouldn’t want the police or anyone in uniform to come and see me. I would find that extraordinarily triggering,” said advocacy coordinator Jordan Rosenthal.

Patricia tells PIX11 that she thinks the city recently did a better job of sending social workers to the subway to physically find her…and then inject her with a monthly dose of an antipsychotic drug.

But it would seem, at least in Patricia’s case, that the city’s ability to provide her with proper psychiatric care hinges first on having enough social workers on duty…and then on being lucky enough to to find.

“They know where I am. I usually sit outside,” Patricia said.

PIX11 News has reached out to Mayor Eric Adams’ office for comment on this story. We did not receive a response in time for this report.

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