Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics

Mental health care

Mental health care

  • ed murrow joins

    High school students (photo: Benjamin Kanter/Mayoral Photo Office)


    This month, as our children return for another pandemic school year, there has never been a more important time to have an honest conversation about mental health. 

    As a member of the New York Assembly Committee on Education, I have heard from countless parents and young people about how the pandemic has exacerbated the pre-existing psychological strains of depression and anxiety. These come on top of the pressures youth have faced for years, from navigating identity issues

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  • heal ment hyg com leadership

    Students at school (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    Young people are often uncomfortable asking for help. Now imagine there is a language barrier as well. Children, teens, and young adults are currently battling social isolation, loneliness, and mental illness in increasing numbers, and the language barrier greatly exacerbates this for Spanish-speaking youth and their families. 

    Access to mental health services has traditionally been lower for this community. More than half of Hispanic young

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  • Gotham Gazette: Amid rising overdoses, mental health and harm reduction support is more important

    The Mayor at an overdose prevention event (photo: Ed Reed/Mayor's Office)


    I know what it’s like to be on the front lines of an infectious disease. I launched my career in harm reduction in the 1980s, at the height of the HIV epidemic. Just like with HIV, the fallout from COVID-19 is not limited to the lives we’ve lost to the infection itself—there are ripple effects that will be felt long after our city fully re-opens.

    This time, it’s the twin tragedy of the

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  • avail ob emer

    (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    The New York State Office of Mental Health quietly issued guidance in April allowing psychiatric centers to vaccinate patients for COVID-19 over patient objections and without a court order in a unusual break from treatment protocols. The policy makes psychiatric patients in state custody one of the only adult populations in New York subject to forcible vaccination.

    The guidance, issued April 22, is a "clarification" giving hospital staff discretion to administer the vaccine without consent, an

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    The CUNY Chancellor and students (photo: @CUNY)


    Graduating when the pandemic first hit New York City was hard for many students. To say that having access to a counselor during a time of increasing uncertainty and hopelessness was beneficial is an understatement - it was many students' lifeline. However, for countless students and peers, they are not so fortunate.

    The effect of the last year on CUNY students can not be overstated. In a recent ...

  • mayor first mccray

    Emergency (photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)


    To the editor:

    Last week, I joined the final day of training for the new teams who will soon begin responding to 911 mental health calls in East Harlem and Harlem. Through this pilot program - the Behavioral Emergency Response Assistance Division or B-HEARD - mental health professionals will be part of 911 response for the first time in New York City history. It's part of our commitment as a city to treat mental health crises as issues of public health, not public

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  • gov em ava

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


    Last month, Mayor de Blasio unveiled his Executive Budget for Fiscal Year 2022, which included a $112 million line item to expand his mental health teams pilot, yet to get off the ground, citywide. Minimizing the role police officers play in responding to

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    A state psychiatric hospital (photo: Office of Mental Health)


    As New York State hospitals began to fear the worst last spring -- that the pace of the coronavirus would overtake their ability to discharge patients and clear beds -- they had to decide what to do with people being admitted for acute psychiatric care.

    In the second week of March 2020, only 325 New Yorkers had tested positive for COVID-19 but images from abroad and the pace of infection outlined a worrying forecast. By the end of the week, New York would confirm its first casualty from a virus

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  • Gotham Gazette:

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


    One-fifth of patients in state-run inpatient psychiatric centers have contracted COVID-19 since the outbreak began last March, and 58 out of a total 8,200 individuals admitted to those institutions have died, according to new data provided by the New York State Office of Mental Health (OMH) after a Gotham Gazette inquiry. The facilities embody one of several types of congregate living settings where residents are more vulnerable to the virus, and while they have smaller populations and

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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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  • bck 2 sch

    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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  • applaud thank staff

    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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  • depart comm police

    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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  • tour linc cm

    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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  • police shooting

    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

    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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  • hospital pano

    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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  • 1 cm carlina rivera baruch

    (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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  • first lady deputy mayors comm

    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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  • Cuomo kids health

    (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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  • Rikers Island inmate detainee

    (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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  • first lady chirl mcc first

    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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  • first lady chirlane mccray host convo across

    (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 ...

  • first lady chirlane mcray deputy mayors comm

    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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