Mayor Eric Adams announces expansion of mental health services, with a focus on helping kids
NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams is expanding mental health services in New York City.
CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer says the multimillion dollar program is personal for members of the Adams administration.
After making a commitment to get homeless individuals experiencing mental illness off the streets and into treatment, Adams has unveiled the second phase of a sweeping mental health agenda geared to help city residents recover from the stress of the pandemic, especially kids, some 8,500 of whom lost parents to the disease.
“Addressing mental health will allow us to build a better city from the ground up,” Adams said.
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The mayor and members of the administration offered horrifying statistics: There are 250,000 New Yorkers living with serious mental illness, but nearly 40% don’t receive treatment, and in 2021, overdoses claimed the lives of nearly 2,700 New Yorkers.
“The highest ever total in the city of New York,” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, New York City health commissioner.
Vasan pointed out that a pilot program to prevent youth suicide is personal for him.
“I lost a beloved uncle to alcohol use and suicide when I was 10. Only as an adult did I begin to grapple with the impact of his death and his life on me,” he said.
The $20 million in new initiatives, which build on $370 million already allocated in the budget for mental health programs, include:
- A telehealth program for high school students,
- Exploring the role of social media in youth mental health issues,
- A program to reduce drug overdoses by 15% by 2025, which includes installing four vending machines to dispense naloxone in neighborhoods with high levels of drug use and distributing fentanyl test strips at bars and night clubs,
- And building 8,000 units of supportive housing for people with mental health issues.
The mayor confessed that years as a transit cop took a mental toll on him, as well.
“It was clearly my son and my love of my son that allowed me to stabilize after those 22 years of seeing the things that men did to men in this city,” Adams said.
The mayor says he’s also going to explore the role of diet in mental health and that the findings will affect what the city serves at schools, hospitals, homeless shelters and other government facilities.