May 25, 2016
Leading academics, advocates and employers will devise new strategies to create a mental health workforce that more accurately reflects city’s diversity
NEW YORK— On May 25, the First Lady Chirlane McCray, the City’s Health Department, and the City University of New York (CUNY), will convene the first Workforce Summit on Mental Health to bring together government, mental health providers, hospital networks, unions, community-based organizations, academic experts, advocates, and other thought leaders to discuss and develop new approaches to diversify and expand the mental health workforce.
“New Yorkers need care where they live, work and study, from people who understand their language, culture and community,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, who spearheads ThriveNYC. “We don’t have the workforce to meet those needs today. But to improve the mental health of our city, we must have it moving forward. This won’t happen by magic. It will take sustained effort and collaboration. Today, we take the first steps toward creating a mental health workforce that can engage the full diversity of our city.”
Significant shortages in our mental health workforce negatively affect New Yorkers in need of care – either because they can’t find help, or because they can’t find someone with the cultural competency or language ability to provide appropriate services.
The Summit is the first step to address the shortage problem. The working groups at the summit will address the following broad areas:
“We must think differently about mental health,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. “We must think differently about how we support our mental health professionals, and how we provide them with the tools and resources they need to do their best work. And we must also think differently about how we attract, recruit and retain a workforce that looks like our city. I applaud CUNY for hosting this gathering and DOHMH for convening the participants in this endeavor, and I thank them for helping us all move ThriveNYC in the right direction.”
"To create a mental health system that truly works for all New Yorkers, we need to build a skilled, structurally and culturally competent mental health workforce that reflects the diversity of our city," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “I thank the First Lady for bringing together this impressive group of leaders on behalf of New Yorkers who are living with mental health issues.”
"If we're to ramp up mental health services in neighborhoods citywide, we will need more professionals to join New York's mental health workforce," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "I hope this summit will help us generate the ideas and tools we need to get more city residents in the pipeline and on their way to well-paying, rewarding careers helping their fellow New Yorkers."
"As we start to address the mental health issues that for many years have gone tragically ignored, we must develop mental health professionals who have the personal experiences to offer treatment while understanding the variety of cultures that coexist in Brooklyn and New York City," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams. "To bring mental health challenges out of the shadows and connect people with the many services that are available, we have to communicate in the multiple languages and dialects that speak to everyone in need. First Lady McCray and DOHMH Commissioner Bassett have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment to raising this critical issue and collaborating with stakeholders in our communities to develop a comprehensive plan that extends access to mental health services for every New Yorker."
NYS Senator Gustavo Rivera, Ranking Member of the Committee on Health, said, "By convening the first Workforce Summit on Mental Health, our City is once again taking a hands-on approach in our continuing effort to properly address the serious challenges posed by mental health illnesses," said State Senator Gustavo Rivera. "I want to congratulate First Lady Chirlane McCray, the City's Health Department and the City University of New York for gathering a wide array of partners to discuss the most effective ways our City can diversify and expand our mental health workforce."
“We need to ensure that health care professionals are equipped to tackle the mental health needs of our diverse neighborhoods. Whether through Training current professionals, creating pathways into the field for students and young people, or establishing scholarships and mentorships, we must enlist a broad array of tools to accomplish this goal. This Workforce Summit on Mental Health creates a critical forum to build coalitions and advance solutions. I salute NYC First Lady McCray, the City's Health Department, and CUNY for convening this array of leaders and welcome the contributions of the participants in addressing the real need for a more diverse mental health professional workforce. In Central Brooklyn, through initiatives like ‘the Campus’ and the Pipeline Mentorship Program, we are fortifying the foundations to be strong partners to city-level action like this. Through taking joint action, we can build the well-equipped, culturally competent care community New Yorkers deserve,” said Senator Jesse Hamilton, Ranking Member on Committee on Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities.
“In order to succeed, our mental health system must be equipped to extend vital services across all communities and neighborhoods,” said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. “The first step in this effort is to harness the power of our extraordinary healthcare workforce. By bringing in more talent, enhancing training and fostering cooperation and information sharing, we will create a stronger and healthier New York City. I thank First Lady Chirlane McCray, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the City University of New York for organizing this important summit that will help forge a productive path forward.”
"In order to succeed, our mental health system must be equipped to extend vital services across all communities and neighborhoods," said Council Member Corey Johnson, Chair of the Committee on Health. "The first step in this effort is to harness the power of our extraordinary healthcare workforce. By bringing in more talent, enhancing training and fostering cooperation and information sharing, we will create a stronger and healthier New York City. I thank First Lady Chirlane McCray, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the City University of New York for organizing this important summit that will help forge a productive path forward."
"By bringing together industry experts, unions, advocates and providers, we can ensure that we will have an expanded and diversified workforce to meet the mental health needs of all New Yorkers. I thank the First Lady for convening this summit so we can improve the mental health workforce throughout New York City,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Developmental Disability, Alcoholism, Substance Abuse and Disability Services.
“As the mental health system transforms in NYS, the role of the peer and family, as well as the community health worker, will become increasingly important. Without them, fewer New Yorkers will be engaged in care. We expect the Thrive Workforce Summit will lead to concrete actionable solutions to strengthen the workforce and ultimately improve healthcare outcomes,” said Wendy Brennan, Executive Director at NAMI-NYC Metro.
"The CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, in collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is truly excited about the opportunity to convene this summit of the leaders in mental health and mental health services in New York City. We believe this event presents an opportunity for meaningful dialog to explore innovative approaches in prevention and management that this city can take, at both the individual and community level. The CUNY SPH is fully committed to the Thrive NYC initiatives, as they fall within our mission of promoting health and social justice in New York City," said Dr. Ayman El Mohandes, Dean of CUNY School of Public Health.