From Spectrum News:
As we referenced in our letter that includes 7 immediate recommendations and 4 long term recommendations, the key is housing and community services. Fully funding these programs will go a long way to help fixing the mental health crisis we face in New York. We are advocating that the State budget include $500 additional dollars for behavioral health and an 8.5 COLA for the human service workforce.
Great job by Harvey and Luke of NYAPRS in pushing back against NYC’s policy on involuntary confinement.
194 Washington Avenue, Suite 415
Albany, N.Y. 12210
Mental Health Association in New York State
(518) 434-0439 | MHANYS.org
Follow us online: MHANYS.org
New York advocates: Long-term fixes needed to aid people with mental illness
By Nick Reisman City of Albany
PUBLISHED 5:37 PM ET Dec. 14, 2022
BY NICK REISMAN CITY OF ALBANY
PUBLISHED 5:37 PM ET DEC. 14, 2022
It’s a plan from New York City Mayor Eric Adams he says is meant to keep the streets safer and provide help for people who are struggling: Involuntary confinement and treatment of people with a mental illness.
But mental health advocates are pushing back on the involuntary confinement of people with mental illnesses, arguing that alternatives exist.
Adams this month defended the policy in an interview with NY1’s Mornings on 1.
“We are walking past our fellow New Yorkers that we know cannot make the decision of taking care of themselves to the point where they can’t meet their basic needs,” he said.
Longtime mental health advocate Harvey Rosenthal calls it the wrong approach.
“We won’t think it’s the right way to engage people,” Rosenthal said. “We don’t think it lasts. We think it’s traumatizing to people.”
Rosenthal is calling for alternatives to forced confinement that would lead to people voluntarily seeking treatment.
“We know so many ways of how to engage people voluntarily,” Rosenthal said. So to go backwards as the mayor is doing with more police, more forced treatment, is exactly the wrong way to go.”
Luke Sikinyi of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services said programs like ones in place elsewhere in New York state can be models, including so-called inset teams in Westchester County.
“We’re seeing that there are people willing to take help. It’s just how you reach them,” he said. “So instead of forcing people to get help, we think there are ways of reaching them and getting to voluntarily take services.”
The Mental Health Association of New York’s Glenn Liebman said there needs to be broader fixes, including an expansion of general hospital beds across the state.
“What happens at the end of the day? There’s no place for people to go,” Liebman said. “The emergency rooms are flooded.”
And in the short term, advocates will be looking to the state budget process in Albany and raises for people who provide direct care to those struggling with mental illness.
But advocates also do not want to recreate the problems associated with large-scale psychiatric facilities for people with mental illnesses. In the long term, housing will be needed.
“You need to have housing. Housing is the key to all this,” Liebman said. “You need to have community services. We all know the right recipe here.”