Bringing Equality in Mental Health to New York City

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Bringing Equality in Mental Health to New York City

FLONYC Chirlane McCray is helping shatter stigma about mental health

For decades, mental health issues in New York state have gone unrecognized and untreated. Studies show 1 in 4 adults in the state experiences a mental health challenge, with 1 in 17 suffering from a serious mental illness. A 2015 Mental Health America report found that only 38.9 percent of adults New Yorkers with a mental illness report receiving care, while 17.9 percent of adults with a mental illness report needing treatment but not receiving it. The same report found that 35.6 percent of children in New York who need mental health care don’t receive it.

 In New York City, the average onset of mental illness is at age 14, and the delay from first symptoms to treatment is nine years.

The de Blasio administration is working to change these statistics. For the first time in more than 30 years, the city will fund a coordinated, multi-agency effort to address mental health deficiencies, with a planned budget of $28.2 million in 2016 and $41.2 million in 2017 and every year after. The administration hopes this will set a course for a new national model for creating effective solutions to mental health needs.

The investments are designed to increase access to mental health services quickly for the most vulnerable New Yorkers by expanding co-located mental health services with existing city services in non-clinical settings.

This fall, the administration will release a roadmap that will analyze the full magnitude of the mental health crisis facing the city and offer strategies to address the burden, including:

Children and families in shelter: Provide mental health services in all contracted family shelters that serve 8,900 families in the city’s family shelters
Runaway and homeless youth: Provide on-site mental health services for all runaway and homeless youth who pass through the city’s shelters, up to 2,100 a year
Survivors of domestic violence: Provide on-site care in all family justice centers for the 36,507 individuals who visit a family justice center annually
Children and families attending community schools: Create more than 80 new school-based mental health clinics—a 60 percent increase over the current number—to provide mental health care access to an estimated 62,000 school children. Expand substance abuse prevention programs at community schools
Youth at Rikers Island: Provide psychiatric assessments and after-school therapeutic arts programming for all youth younger than age 21 and substance abuse programming for 16- to 21-year-olds
Teens in foster care: Offer 5,000 youth, ages 11 to 21, with healthy relationship training at 300 workshops annually. Provide workshops and training for foster parents
Elderly in senior centers: Place a licensed clinical social worker in the city’s 20 largest senior centers to evaluate the estimated 30 percent of seniors in New York City living with a mental illness.
Survivors of crime: Place victim advocates at all NYPD precincts and Housing Bureau Police Service Areas (PSA). This investment will provide one general victim advocate and one domestic victim advocate at 71 precincts and all nine Housing Bureau PSAs. The remaining six precincts will have one victim advocate to serve both general victims and domestic violence victims
“Mental health doesn’t discriminate when it comes to income level,” said Chirlane McCray, New York City’s first lady, who has madeshattering the stigma surrounding mental health and advocating for more access to mental health resources and services central to her platform. “We are all equally susceptible. But when it comes to getting treatment, the most vulnerable New Yorkers have the fewest options. That has to change. Services for mental health should not be a privilege of the few. The initiatives we are announcing are evidence of the city’s unprecedented commitment to closing the gaps in our mental health system.”

Photo: Monkeybusiness/Depositphotos

BHM Edit Staff