Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Mental health care

Mental health care

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    Mental health care workers (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    The holidays can be an emotionally-charged time and bring up mixed feelings that may include stress, grief, and loneliness and also feelings of joy, gratitude, and hope for the new year, sometimes all at the same time.   

    But this year is filled with new challenges — so many New Yorkers have experienced significant losses and will celebrate the holidays differently than in past years. Health care providers and other essential workers have been on the front lines of a global

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    Top (l-r): Loree Sutton, Shaun Donovan, Kathryn Garcia, Carlos Menchaca, Eric Adams
    Bottom (l-r): Dianne Morales, Scott Stringer, Joycelyn Taylor, Maya Wiley, Zach Iscol


    The NYPD’s involvement when responding to mental health crises took center stage at a forum featuring ten of the 2021 Democratic mayoral candidates Thursday night.

    The event, which was hosted by Citizen Action of New York, a grassroots nonprofit advocacy group, and a consortium it is part of that seeks to reform mental health and other

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    Students back in school amid a pandemic (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The COVID-19 pandemic has had profound effects for children across New York City and State, as well as their families, like the loss of a loved one, economic distress, food insecurity, and the shutdown of school buildings, switch to remote learning, and lack of in-person social connections.

    During the first five months of the pandemic, an estimated 4,200 of 4 million children in the state lost a parent or caregiver to coronavirus, a rate of more than one out of every 1,000, according to a

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    Honoring health care heroes (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Roars of applause, cheers, and clanging of pots and pans – the familiar 7 p.m. signal in New York for many bleak early spring days of 2020 quickly became a daily ritual in fervent support of health-care workers on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. While most watched the wave of infections unfold through the media from the safe havens of their homes, health-care workers went to work hoping, praying, and questioning the chance of infection and survival for themselves, their families, and their

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    NYPD response (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    The police must stop killing people of color. The police must stop killing people experiencing mental health crises. The police must stop killing people of color experiencing mental health crises. And the police must stop the cover-ups. 

    Daniel Prude, a Black man experiencing a mental health crisis, should never have been asphyxiated in the middle of the street on a snowy night, naked, begging and praying for help, held down and “hooded” with a bag over his head by seven Rochester police officers.

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    Health care by video has increased in importance (photo: Jeff Reed/City Council)


    When we first met Alice two years ago, she suffered from schizophrenia, depression, uncontrolled diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. Even though we set up pill boxes for her and arranged home health aides, she chose to seek treatment only in emergency rooms. Her health continued to deteriorate. 

    Last year, Alice finally began to engage in treatment for her diabetes by phone, but her nurse practitioner provided this treatment on her own time, without government funding. Alice’s

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    Questioning one role of the NYPD (photo: Edwin J. Torres/Mayor's Office)


    The protests that have erupted across American cities in response to the murder of George Floyd, together with the larger movement for Black lives, have amplified advocates’ calls to defund the police and reallocate resources toward services that would better meet the needs of Black Americans and over-policed communities nationwide. 

    New York City’s police budget alone surpasses its spending on housing, hospitals, youth services, and homeless services combined. In response to public outcry,

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    Kingsboro Psychiatric Center (photo: New York State Office of Mental Health)


    The death toll from the novel coronavirus at state psychiatric facilities is rising, according to what scant official figures are available, hinting at a nightmare unfolding inside some of New York's least visible institutions. In just over a week, the number of residents confirmed to have died from the virus has tripled, according to data provided by the state Office of Mental Health (OMH), which runs the 23 centers.

    Thirty residents are dead and another seven are suspected to have died

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    Manhattan Psychiatric Center, Wards Island (photo: @nicknormal via Flickr)


    Ten people have died of coronavirus and another 193 have tested positive among the nearly 3,500 residents living in state-run inpatient psychiatric facilities, according to officials, making them one of the hardest hit institutional settings per capita in New York State. Another 283 staff that work at the state's 23 centers have tested positive for COVID-19, which has killed well over 13,000 people across the state.

    After inquiries, the information was provided to Gotham Gazette on

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    (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    As the coronavirus outbreak causes more and more health, social, and economic damage, many New Yorkers need help. Below is a guide to some available resources (please let us know if there’s something we should add).

    For updates from New York City about the pandemic, you can text the word “COVID” to 692-692, or “COVIDESP” to 692-692 for the same notifications in Spanish. 

    Unemployment Insurance
    If you lost your job due to the coronavirus outbreak and its fallout,

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    Chirlane McCray, leader of ThriveNYC (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    First Lady Chirlane McCray’s signature mental health initiative ThriveNYC has faced withering criticism for spending hundreds of millions of dollars with few concrete results to show for it. But amid increasing scrutiny the de Blasio administration is seeking to put those concerns to rest as the Office of ThriveNYC for the first time releases detailed data tracking the outcomes of dozens of programs that have been launched under the Thrive

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    (photo: the Governor's Office)


    Rates of youth suicide are climbing across the country. New York State, where youth suicide is the second leading cause of death for adolescents, is no exception. With adequate investment in mental health and substance use services for children and adolescents, many of these deaths could be prevented. Yet, New York is planning to further reduce access to these kind of behavioral health services for children, even as more than half of children across the state with a mental or behavioral health condition do not receive the treatment

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    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    In an historic vote last month, the New York City Council approved the plan to close the Rikers Island jail complex and replace it with four borough-based jails by 2026. When the Council voted through the plan, estimated at $8.7 billion in new construction costs, it also announced, with Mayor Bill de Blasio, a $391-million package of citywide and community investments in criminal justice reforms and initiatives to responsibly accelerate the reduction of the city’s jail population.

    For city officials, one

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    Chirlane McCray on Rikers Island (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    A rising number of 911 calls to report emotionally disturbed persons, several fatal encounters between police officers and people with serious mental illness, and an increasing percentage of seriously mentally ill people among those detained in city jails have all raised questions about how New York City and State provide care for those suffering from the most serious mental illnesses.

    These questions and concerns don’t have easy answers. The city’s public

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    (photo: Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Five leaders in criminal justice and mental health discussed wide-ranging options to keep seriously mentally ill people out of the prison system during a panel discussion held by the Greenburger Center for Social and Criminal Justice last week at Baruch College. Two out-of-state panelists, from Arizona and Florida, elaborated on initiatives in their states that have not made it to New York.

    The discussion took place just a week after the New York City Council ...

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    Chirlane McCray (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayor's Office)


    Following repeated criticism about spending hundreds of millions of dollars with unclear outcomes, ThriveNYC, First Lady Chirlane McCray’s signature mental health initiative, is now publishing nearly 100 metrics to track the performance of dozens of programs that have been launched in the last three years.

    The metrics, provided to

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    Elizabeth Ford of Health + Hospitals, left, & Becky Scott of DOC (photo: John McCarten/City Council)


    City Council members on Monday held an oversight hearing to examine how New York prevents formerly incarcerated mentally ill persons from returning to jail. The hearing made clear that the de Blasio administration, Health + Hospitals public hospital system, and City Council members all want to reduce the number of mentally ill persons who rely on the jail system for their mental health care and keep those with serious mental illness out of jail

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    Chirlane McCray (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Questions have been raised recently about the cost and achievements of the ThriveNYC mental health initiative. This is no surprise: big, high-profile, efforts like ThriveNYC have always been susceptible to such criticisms.

    But ThriveNYC is just the unifying umbrella of more than 40 different pilot programs attempting to deliver innovative mental health interventions across multiple city agencies. Organizing these disparate efforts into one initiative helped get resources for

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    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 71 -- 1,112,975, with Dr. Mitchell Katz, president of NYC Health + Hospitals [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    artworks 000515225592 2py301 t500x500Dr. Mitchell Katz is in charge of the city's public hospital system, which includes 11 hospitals and dozens of other facilities

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    What's The [Data] Point? Episode 61 - 2,268, 'Deinstitutionalization' in New York, with Stephen Eide of the Manhattan Institute [You can download What's The [Data] Point? wherever you get your podcasts, including on iTunes]

    wtdp stephen eide

    Stephen Eide, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, is the author of ...

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    Puerto Rico (photo via the governor's office)


    The physical damage caused by Hurricane Maria on the island of Puerto Rico was undoubtedly devastating. Fortunately, homes and buildings can, have been, and will be rebuilt, but it’s often trauma from these natural disasters that leaves the most lasting and destructive mark on a community.

    The psychological impact of months without electricity, access to food and clean water, and unexpectedly losing loved ones – experienced on an island-wide scale – cannot be overstated. This kind of stress and instability is

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    Chirlane McCray, with Bill de Blasio looking on (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayor's Office)


    On a sunny Wednesday morning in November 2015, more than 30 of New York City’s top public officials gathered together in East Harlem. They stood shoulder-to-shoulder and tiered in three rows on the ground floor of the City University of New York’s school of social work. An audience of hospital administrators, business leaders, mental health advocates and journalists watched from folded seats.

    Chirlane McCray, wife of New York City Mayor Bill de

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    (Credit: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York City Council Progressive Caucus is stepping up calls for Mayor Bill de Blasio to reconstitute a citywide task force to examine how emergency responders help people suffering from mental illness, and are insisting that the mayor consider creating a parallel response force of social workers and therapists that can answer calls rather than police officers.

    In a letter sent to the mayor last Wednesday, the 21 members of the Progressive Caucus said the mayor should act by the end of

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    Ben Max, left, of Gotham Gazette, and Jarrett Murphy, right, of City Limits


    March 26, 2018 - Max & Murphy Podcast: New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray

    Chirlane McCray

    New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray is leading the city's ThriveNYC mental health care plan and its many component programs, serving as Chair of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, and providing guidance as her

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    NYCHA community gathering at Queensbridge (Pete Mikoleski/NYCHA flickr) 


    At a recent training session, just over 35 New York City Housing Authority staff members assembled at the authority’s downtown offices last Thursday. The course, which included eight topics, was part of the city’s ThriveNYC mental health care plan, one piece of which is 2,000 NYCHA employees receiving mental health care training so that they can more carefully and helpfully interact with public housing residents who may be experiencing mental health challenges.

    The eight

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