Mayor Adams announces new mental health direction for first responders, hospital staff
A new plan from Mayor Eric Adams now gives outreach workers and first response teams the legal authority to remove mentally ill people from city streets and place them into hospitals.
The new Clinical Co-Response Teams include NYPD, FDNY, and staff from the Department of Health and Department of Mental Hygiene. The teams will legally be able to to remove a mentally ill person from the streets and place them in a hospital if their mental illness prevents them from meeting their own basic needs. While some, like the mayor, believe this is a solution, others disagree.
"Let's get to the heart of the problem. Let's avoid psychiatric hospitalizations and the revolving door of jail. Let's get people the robust community treatment they need," says Jeffrey Berman, a mental health attorney of the Legal Aid Society.
Members from the Legal Aid Society called the new plan a form of involuntary commitment. The Coalition for the Homeless issued a statement saying in part, "Mayor Adams continues to get it wrong when it comes to his reliance on ineffective surveillance, policing, and involuntary transport and treatment of people with mental illness."
The city will develop a tele-consult line providing police officers with a direct line to access technicians. The plan is already in full swing with ongoing training for the response teams with some already patrolling the stations.
Mayor Adams hopes to have this plan carried out before the middle of winter.