NEW YORK (PIX11) — A sobering fact about the mental health crisis in New York City is that lately, it seems you don’t have to go far to (meet) someone who’s homeless in the subway and admits to receiving psychiatric care over and over again.
PIX11 News talked with Patricia, whose face we are blurring to protect her privacy, in a Manhattan subway station Friday evening.
She was calm and kind. But New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams said there are too many people like Patricia who are routinely arrested by police instead of receiving care from trained mental health professionals.
“It’s vital to treat mental crisis as a public health issue. There are fewer mobile crisis teams now than in 2019,” said Williams.
On Friday, Williams released an update to his 2019 analysis and reported on what City Hall could to improve its response to the mental health crisis.
He said that the previous de Blasio Administration ignored his recommendations. However, Williams added the Adams administration is making progress, albeit slowly.
Among the Advocate’s latest recommendations:
- Expand hours of operation for “mobile crisis teams”
- Create a “non-police/law enforcement” phone number for those experiencing a mental health crisis
- Fund and build more supportive housing with wraparound services
“I would not want police or someone in a uniform t come to me. I would find that extraordinarily triggering,” said advocacy coordinator Jordan Rosenthal.
Patricia tells PIX11 she believes the city has recently been doing a better job of sending social workers into the subways to physically find her…and then inject her with a monthly dose of an anti-psychotic medication.
But it would appear, at least in Patricia’s case – the city’s ability to provide her with proper psychiatric care rests on first having enough social workers on duty…and then being lucky enough to find her.
“They know where I’m at. I usually be sitting outside,” said Patricia.
PIX11 News reached out to Mayor Eric Adams’ office seeking comment for this story. We did not receive a response in time for this report.