NEW YORK (1010 WINS) — Mayor Eric Adams announced a new initiative Tuesday to assist people with severe, untreated mental illness living on the city’s streets and subways.
Part of the plan involves involuntary hospitalization of people deemed to be in need of mental health services regardless of if they are posing an immediate risk of harm to others.
“These New Yorkers and hundreds of others like them are in urgent need of treatment, yet often refuse it when offered,” Adams said. “The very nature of their illnesses keeps them from realizing they need intervention and support. Without that intervention, they remain lost and isolated from society, tormented by delusions and disordered thinking. They cycle in and out of hospitals and jails. But New Yorkers rightly expect our city to help them. And help them we will.”
Adams added that his administration has been studying the most effective ways to address the challenge of helping New Yorkers with mental illnesses for the past year and believes this is the best path forward, especially ahead of the winter months when more people flock to the subway system to seek shelter.
The city plans to implement “compassionate care” training immediately to police officers, emergency medical workers and other medical responders.
“We can no longer deny the reality that untreated psychosis can be a cruel and all-consuming condition that often requires involuntary intervention, supervised medical treatment, and long-term care,” Adams said. “We will change the culture from the top down and take every action to get care to those who need it.”
Adams also emphasized the need for more long-term care for those who are hospitalized as opposed to being admitted and discharged a few days later when their conditions improve. Under the city’s new plan, hospitals will be directed to discharge patients when their is an arrangement for continued care.
The city will also work with Gov. Kathy Hochul to supply more psychiatric beds which has long been cited as a reasons for early discharge of patients in need.