NAMI NYC Advocacy Action Alerts

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Rally – Protest Police Shootings of Individuals Experiencing Mental Health Crises

Join families, City Council Members, and other advocates as we ask for changes to prevent more deaths in police encounters.

Thursday, April 4, 2019
12 p.m.
City Hall Park, Manhattan

Individuals with mental health concerns and their advocates request that NYC implement:

  • Non-police alternatives in response to crisis situations
  • More preventative care to avoid 911 calls
  • Alternate number to call, not 911
  • More roles for mental health peers, at all levels
  • Crisis Intervention Training for 36,000 police officers

For more info, contact Carla Rabinowitz, at 212-780-1400 x7726 or

The aim of this press conference is to educate the mayor and the NYPD on the need to:

1. Provide Alternatives to Police Responding to 911 Calls
Success of the Cahoots program, in Eugene, Oregon – which pairs EMTs and mental health workers – prove there is another way to respond to crisis calls other than sending NYPD. In Eugene, Cahoots receives 17% of the 911 calls. Washington County also recently opened a 911 call diversion to social workers that allowed a social worker to respond to over 1,000 calls in a few weeks.

  • People in emotional distress need health care, and trained crisis workers, including peers, should be first responders—not law enforcement.
  • Include trained peers in the 911 call center to assist in screening and responding to callers requesting mental health support.
  • Peer-to-peer work has proven results in improving the lives of peers.
  • Trained peers have strong track records in de-escalating mental health crisis issues.
  • Peers understand the importance of respectful communication, especially in working with people in distress.

2. Create Alternatives to Hospitals

  • Add More Respite Centers: 7-14 day stays
  • Open Diversion Centers for police drop off
  • Mental Health Urgent Care Centers with mental health professionals and peers
  • Similar to urgent care, as when one cuts a finger
  • Incorporate mental health services into all existing medical care centers
  • Expand low threshold housing, e.g., safe havens
  • Improve shelters
  • Involve shelter residents in decisions about the shelters and employ shelter residents
  • Drop-in centers like senior and youth centers

3. Train all officers in CIT and Expand CIT and De-escalation Training

  • The coalition is concerned about the sudden purported shift of NYPD away from small in-class training to training of recruits in a large setting. Training in large settings will not allow for disclosure or the bonding that allows seasoned officers to see mental health recipients as just another NYC resident.

4. Change the Number: Create an alternative to 911

  • Creates an environment that changes how people think about and respond to crises
  • Fewer calls to police/fewer police interactions with people in mental health crisis and reduce number of potentially violent interactions
  • Previous success: “311” rollout
  • Possibly use Thrive NYC

5. Involve those impacted in every level of discussion. We applaud DOHMH’s use of peers in outreach called HEAT teams. But we need peers engaged in more crisis involved care. And we need all the Mayor’s taskforce initiatives to obtain input and oversight from peers active in the mental health community.

From our partners, Community Access

Contact Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie – We need to include behavioral health parity in the final state budget

The New York State Budget is due April 1, 2019, and negotiations are heating up! It is critical that the final FY 2019-20 State Budget contain behavioral health parity reforms.

These proposals are necessary to increase access to critical behavioral health services and ensure that people with commercial insurance plans are not denied coverage.

The Governor and Senate included behavioral health parity proposals in their respective budgets, but the Assembly did not.

Please call, email, or tweet Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and ask him to include behavioral health parity in the final state budget.

Among other provisions, the proposal:

  • Allows for provider reimbursement when treatment or diagnosis of a mental health is performed by a Nurse Practitioner.
  • Removes language that restricts coverage for applied behavioral analysis to a maximum benefit of 680 hours of treatment.
  • Conforms the definition of autism, SUD, and MH services to the definitions provided in the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorder or other generally recognized independent standard and makes further adjustments to the law to ensure that coverage is consistent with the federal Mental Health Parity Act of 2008.
  • Prohibits preauthorization and concurrent review of SUD services for the first 21 days. The law currently prohibits it for first 14 days.
  • Prohibits prior authorization for Medication Assisted Treatment.
  • Limits copays for behavioral health services to one per day and requires such copayments to be equal to primary care office visits.
  • Mandates inpatient hospital coverage for mental health disorders under policies that offer inpatient hospital coverage for physician services, including for children under the age of 18.

From our partners, The Coalition for Behavioral Health

Have questions about any of our Advocacy programs, including these alerts?  Email our Public Policy and Advocacy manager.

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