a new plan to help mentally ill New Yorkers
Doing this, said Ashwin Vasan, the city’s health commissioner, requires “preventing the drivers of the crisis: isolation, unstable housing, unstable clinical care”.
The serious mental illness plan is part of a broader behavioral health policy the mayor introduced Thursday, which includes substance abuse treatment and the mental health needs of children and families. It also takes aim at racial inequalities in health care — black and Hispanic New Yorkers with serious mental illness are much more likely to receive inadequate treatment or receive no treatment at all.
The plan is in some way an attempt to directly address a problem that has spread for more than half a century, since the nation has moved away from housing large numbers of people with mental illness. in psychiatric institutions without establishing an adequate system of community care.
The city’s plan for serious mental illness includes building six new community behavioral health centers, with federal funding, for low-income people. He’s asking for $7 million in city money to expand the lodges, which are widely seen as a cost-effective way to help people with serious mental illness stay connected to supports.
The plan also calls for the creation of 15 additional mobile treatment teams that will serve more than 800 people with mental illness, including five teams dedicated to the most difficult patients who often move between shelters, prisons, streets and hospitals.
These teams, called Mobile Intensive Treatment Teams or IMTs, include social workers, peer counselors and psychiatric professionals. They have a broad mandate to provide clients with the help they need where and when they need it, whether it’s helping them find housing, connecting them to benefits or solving day-to-day problems.
Jody Rudin, president of the Institute for Community Living, a nonprofit that operates six IMT teams under contract with the city, applauded the plan.
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