The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene estimates that 34,000 adults experience serious psychological distress every month, with higher prevalence among low income individuals, the uninsured, and those receiving public insurance. Those populations also seek and receive care at lower rates.
The United States Surgeon General reports that the unmet need for mental health services is greatest among minorities and low income people.
One in five New Yorkers with serious psychological distress have reported a time in the prior year when they needed mental health treatment but did not receive it.
Mental illness is pervasive, and far too many New Yorkers are unable to get the treatment they need.
Led by Mayor's Fund Board Chair and First Lady Chirlane McCray, New York City took its first step toward addressing this mental health crisis with the release of ThriveNYC: A Mental Health Roadmap for All. This plan of action aims to guide our city toward a more effective and holistic mental health system, one that promotes mental health, prevents illness, and detects problems early. Read an update on Year One activities here.
One of ThriveNYC's initiatives is Connections to Care, a $30 million public-private partnership that is being driven by the Mayor Fund, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the Center for Economic Opportunity. Supported by a federal grant from the Social Innovation Fund of the Corporation for National and Community Service, Connections to Care will study the integration of evidence-based mental health supports into community-based organizations that are already serving low-income, at-risk populations.
The goal of Connections to Care is to ensure that every staff member at a community-based organization that is serving new parents or providing workforce development assistance to "out-of-work, out-of-school" youth or unemployed adults – all of whom are non-mental health professionals – can also identify a client that is suffering from a mental health condition, provide the appropriate treatment or refer them to a provider for more specific care. By testing this all-inclusive approach to mental health care, Connections to Care is looking to evaluate whether every client of these community-based organizations who walks in with a mental health challenge-whether they are aware of it or not—is then more likely to get the help they need.
Learn more about the Connections to Care program.