NYC Public Advocate's Response To The Mayor's Mental Health Announcement

March 2nd, 2023

Press Release

"Today’s mental health announcement thankfully centers support over enforcement, as opposed to strategies put forward in the past. Each of the three prongs of this plan are important, each are valuable, and each comes with concerns about implementation.

"Overdose prevention is urgent and essential. Expanding overdose prevention centers should be at the forefront of this work in our city just as New York should be at the forefront of the harm reduction effort nationally. I’m grateful the administration is supportive of OPCs in principle, and this must be paired with clear, consistent funding streams and a push for the governor to authorize centers and allocate funding. 24 Hour access and an increase in sites would directly, demonstrably save lives, and it’s inexcusable to deny these resources.

"Clubhouses are important spaces for New Yorkers struggling with severe mental illness, and expanding them is a welcome, important part of a holistic mental health plan. That plan must also include respite centers, though, which operate through a model equipped to provide the kind of immediate, walk-in crisis care that is needed.  

"Lastly, supporting the mental health of young people, including through telehealth, is vital. At the same time, questions and concerns remain about agencies involved in identifying the need for services and the path for their provision – it is critically important that we support families, rather than police or penalize them.

"I continue to appreciate the administration’s welcome focus on mental health – one I share. Moving forward, I hope to work with them to ensure that the ideal of support is met with implementation strategies and funding levels that truly, compassionately, effectively address this crisis on all fronts."

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