We commend the city administration for developing and funding the Thrive NYC initiative, a set of 54 recommendations designed to reduce the stigma of mental illness and improve access to mental health services for New Yorkers, particularly those living in low-income communities of color. NAMI-NYC Metro supports the overarching goals. The plan is ambitions, and the NAMI-NYC Metro Board and its Family Advisory Board are particularly interested in the outcomes of the initiatives listed below.
1) NYC Safe Program – is targeted to address the needs of a narrow group of individuals with more complicated mental illness who may pose a concern for violent behavior.
We would like to receive information about who the City is serving with this program and what kind of services and supports are being offered.
2) Expand and Enhance Discharge Planning Services – Far too many New Yorkers who have behavioral health issues are justice involved. To ensure that these vulnerable New Yorkers do not cycle in and out of the criminal justice system, certain resources need to be put in place, including enrollment in Medicaid and health homes prior to discharge from City jails.
We would like to know the percentage of justice involved individuals who are receiving the aforementioned resources required to connect them to the community health system and any available data on improved outcomes and reduced recidivism for this group.
3) Transition to Medicaid Managed Care – The mental health system is going through unprecedented changes for people who receive Medicaid who have high behavioral health needs.
We would like to know if these New Yorkers are receiving the integrated, coordinated quality care required to support recovery. In addition, we would like to know if individuals are able to access the non-clinical care provided through the Home and Community Based Services programs, including peer and family support, and employment services.
4) Police Crisis Intervention Team Program and Training and Public Health Drop-Off Center.
NYPD officers are receiving CIT training and using those skills throughout New York City’s communities to assist people in mental health crisis, which will improve their safety and the safety of the NYPD officers. To ensure that the training program and the program implementation is effective, we recommend that both the CIT training and the program be evaluated.
We would like to know the evaluation implementation timelines and the evaluation outcomes. Moreover, the CIT program cannot work unless it is integrated with the community mental health system. To date, the administration has not located drop-off center sites.
5) Social-Emotional Learning in Early Care and Education – Mental health must be understood as part of overall health and wellness. To ensure that New York City’s children are emotionally well and socially resilient, the administration expects to train 9,000 staff and reach over 100,000 children age 0-5 over the next several years to support children in their emotional development, their ability to regulate their emotions and adapt to new situations.
We would like to know if the City is on target to reaching those goals, and has successfully included parents and caregivers in this process.
6) Mental Health Training for School Staff – We know that half of all life time symptoms of mental illness appear by age 14 and research demonstrates that early intervention is critical to improving outcomes and saving lives. The City expects to train targeted middle and high school staff using Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), a five-step plan action plan for identifying and offering services youth 12-18 years old in crisis, and using the Making Education Partners (MEP) model, to train staff in suicide awareness and prevention.
We would like to understand selection criteria for YMHFA training sites; how many staff have been trained and will be trained, and program outcome data.