Williams' Statement In Response To Mayor Adams' New Mental Health Initiatives

November 29th, 2022

Press Release

"Our city’s mental health crisis is longstanding, widespread, and demands increased attention and funding. At the same time, the type of response the city provides is just as critical as its strength, and the city seems stubbornly insistent on using police as main decision makers in mental health emergencies.

"As our office has argued since 2019, mental health is a public health issue – not a criminal one. Unfortunately, as we detailed in our new review just days ago, the city has still not taken many of the steps needed to reform our mental health and public safety infrastructure, and in some ways, has gone backward.

"I am encouraged that the city is now advancing some of the recommendations of my office, including drop-in centers, safe havens, stabilization beds, and outreach vans - this progress must be acknowledged. These tools will make our communities safer, stronger, and healthier, and the city should use this approach as a model for moving forward.

"The mayor’s announcement leaves many details unspecified, questions unanswered, and must provide more information on the intentions, implementation, and non-police investment in its plan. A framework that continues to center overreliance on police, diminishes the role of health professionals, and de-prioritizes the role of peer support will not be sustainable or effective in meeting the needs of New Yorkers in need or a city in crisis."


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