NEW YORK — To address a mental health crisis on New York City’s streets and subways, Mayor Eric Adams announced Tuesday that officers will intervene more aggressively to get people to seek treatment, citing a “moral obligation” to act. Describing, even if it means involuntarily hospitalizing some.
“These New Yorkers and hundreds of others like them urgently need treatment, but when it is offered they often put it off,” Adams said at a press conference, noting that the widespread problem of mental illness has been open for a long time.
“There’s no walking or looking the other way,” said the mayor.
The mayor’s directive is the latest effort to ease a decades-long crisis. It would give first responders, including outreach workers, city hospitals and police, the discretion to involuntarily hospitalize anyone they deem a danger to themselves or unable to care for themselves.
“The nature of their illnesses prevents them from realizing they need intervention and help. Without that intervention, they remain disoriented and isolated from society, plagued by delusions and disorganized thoughts. They end up in hospitals and He goes to and from the jails by bicycle.
State law generally limits officers’ ability to compel someone into treatment unless they are a danger to themselves, but Adams said it was a “myth” that the law required a person to ” was required to behave in an “insulting” manner. A police officer or medical staff can take action.
As part of its initiative, the city is developing a hotline that will allow police officers to consult doctors.
The mayor’s announcement was greeted with caution by civil rights groups and homeless advocates.
A coalition of community groups, including the Legal Aid Society and various community advocate services, said the mayor was right to point out “decades of dysfunction” in mental health care. He argued that state legislators “no longer have to be ‘in the clear'” to address the crisis and pass legislation providing treatment, not prison, for people with mental health problems.
“We are encouraged to hear that Mayor Adams believes that community-based treatment and the least restrictive services should lead the way to rehabilitation and recovery,” the groups said.
The mayor said he has started deploying teams of doctors and police to patrol the city’s busiest metro stations.
In addition, the city is training police officers and other first responders to help provide “compassionate care” in situations that could lead to the involuntary removal of a person showing signs of mental illness from public places. .
Adams announced the show, saying, “It is not acceptable for us to watch someone who clearly needs help go right through it.”
“We can no longer deny the reality that untreated psychosis can be a brutal and consuming condition that often requires involuntary intervention, supervised medical treatment and long-term care. We will change the culture from the top down And will take all necessary steps to provide care to those who need it.”