On Tuesday, Mayor Eric Adams of New York City announced a new policy to expand involuntary commitment of individuals with chronic and untreated mental illnesses, as well as additional training on how to assist those in crisis.
As per UPI, Adams announced the decision on Tuesday during a news conference. It specifies that outreach workers, city-operated hospitals, and first responders “have the legal authority to offer care to New Yorkers whose serious mental illness prohibits them from meeting their own basic human needs to such an extent that they pose a risk to themselves.”
Additionally, Adams presented his eleven-point legislative plan for the 2017 Albany legislative session. The agenda will advocate for broadening the list of agencies authorized to conduct an evaluation for involuntary commitment and for making “the legislation plain that a person need care when mental illness prohibits them from satisfying their own basic requirements.”
The statements are in response to a number of subway attacks that have occurred since Adams became an office. In January, a man with mental health concerns was responsible for the death of Michelle Go, age 40. Go was on a subway platform when she was pushed onto the tracks and killed by a passing train.
Throughout the underground system, homelessness tends to increase during the chilly winter months. Prior to this, frontline personnel in the city were only taught to commit individuals against their will if they posed an immediate threat to themselves or the public.
Under Adams’ direction, police officers, social workers, and mental health treatment teams will be retrained to expand the practice to situations in which mental illness prohibits an individual from satisfying their own basic human requirements.
“There is a common misconception among police and frontline mental health crisis intervention professionals that a person with mental illness must present as ‘imminently threatening’ in order to be taken from the community,” Adams stated during a Tuesday morning news conference.
“… This is not the case. This myth must be dispelled. Going forward, we shall make every effort to aid those whose mental illness endangers them by prohibiting them from satisfying their most fundamental human requirements.”
Adams added that the city is building a telephone hotline to provide immediate access to physicians for police personnel working with mental health problems in the field. The service provides police personnel with crucial therapeutic guidance when interacting with distressed persons.