NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Unveils Mental Health Initiative

NYAPRS Note: At a kick-off event yesterday, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray released ThriveNYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All. The Roadmap outlines 54 initiatives – 23 of which are new – to support the mental health of NYC residents across all ages and severity of conditions. Regarded as one of most ambitious packages of mental health initiatives in the nation, ThriveNYC represents a commitment of more than $850 million.


The event was as touching as it was celebratory. At one point, when the Mayor spoke with deep regret about how his father was unable to ask for and receive the level of services recently afforded his daughter and eventually completed suicide, he became tearful, and in a tender moment, was immediately surrounded and comforted by his wife and children.


Our own Harvey Rosenthal was among the several dozen advocates flanked behind the Mayor, First Lady and their children at yesterday’s launch, and had this to say: “Mayor de Blasio and the First Lady have demonstrated an unprecedented level of bold leadership that offers help and hope to thousands of New Yorkers with serious mental health conditions. In doing so, they are offering us a roadmap to improved health and recovery, housing not homelessness, diversion from jail and prison and a message that they are a welcome part of the fabric of their community.”


ThriveNYC’s new initiatives include:

  • NYC Support: a 24/7 phone and text-based crisis center that will provide referrals and proactive follow-up to distressed individuals and families seeking emergency assistance, connection to behavioral health services, and/or crisis/suicide counseling.
  • Mental Health First Aid Training for 250,000 New Yorkers “to better recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illness and addiction and more effectively provide support.
  • A City-Wide Public Awareness Campaign will reshape the conversation around mental health, promoting mental health and early intervention and educating NYC residents about how to get services.
  • Mental Health Corps: Hiring 400 clinicians to work as in substance abuse programs, mental health clinics and primary care practices in high-need communities throughout the city. When fully staffed, this Corp can provide 400,000 additional hours of service.
  • Mayor’s Conference for Mental Health which will bring cities together to share new ideas and promising initiatives and send a strong message that mental health must play a central role in ongoing policy development.
  • Hiring 100 School Mental Health Consultants who will work with every school citywide to ensure that staff and administrators have an outlet to connect students with immediate needs to care.
  • A Web-Based Directory of City-Wide Mental Health Programs
  • Crisis Intervention Training for 5,500 police officers aimed at de-escalating encounters and avoiding preventable arrests and tragedies
  • Peer Specialist Training: The City is committed to graduating 200 peer specialists per year starting in 2017.
  • A combined $1.5 million for Veterans Outreach Team expansion and the creation of a Holistic Treatment fund
  • Social-Emotional Learning, as well as Mental Health Clinics in additional ‘high need’ schools
  • Funding for 12 Case Management Agencies to Identify and Support 1,200 Isolated, Homebound Seniors With Mental Health Issues
  • Expanded Access To Buprenorphine In Primary Care Settings to Effectively Treat Opioid Addiction
  • A Virtual Learning Center for Community-Based Organizations
  • Establishment of NYC Inter-Agency Mental Health Council, bringing together over 20 City agencies to coordinate management of mental health initiatives and policy making.


NYAPRS is especially pleased that ThriveNYC makes a commitment to expanding peer support. Missing from the Roadmap, however, were details about workforce investments and enhancing access to employment services for people with mental health conditions.  



Mayor Bill De Blasio Unveils Mental Health Initiative

By Dave Evans – November 23, 2015


NEW YORK (WABC) -- It's no secret mental health issues have touched Mayor Bill de Blasio's family.

Monday with his wife and two children at his side, the mayor outlined the city's plan called ThriveNYC to fight depression and other mental illnesses.

"He would be so proud of Dante, and he would be so proud of Chiara," Mayor de Blasio said.

The mayor has never been seen so emotional, as he remembered his alcoholic and abusive father, and honoring how his daughter, who also suffers with substance abuse, anxiety, and depression, on how she sought help.

"But he couldn't do what Chiara did. I often thought about that. He never got to meet his granddaughter. But he could not do what she was able to do," Mayor de Blasio said.

The mayor Monday unveiled a mental health initiative spearheaded this last year by his wife, because so many New Yorkers suffer from serious mental health problems.

Details of the plan include:

- 250,000 New Yorkers trained in mental health first aid.

- The city will hire 100 school mental health consultants.

- There will be a new Mental Health Corps with 400 doctors.

"The good news is that mental illness is treatable, we know what works," said Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City.

Mental health awareness became a big part of the city's first family two years ago when Chiara revealed her own mental health problems in a video.

"I'm doing well thank you," Chiara said.

Now, Chiara says she has hope that things will get better and the mayor says he wants the same thing for all New Yorkers. He wants that so much so that he will spend $850-million over the next four years on improving the city's mental health.

"Maybe there's a little more hope, we can stare down these challenges and not be afraid to talk about them or seek the help that people deserve," Mayor de Blasio said.


The ThriveNYC Roadmap can be found here: