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Mayor's Office of ThriveNYC Announces New Partnership with New York Public Library, Connecting Library Patrons to Mental Health Resources

December 5, 2019

Spaces to Thrive will bring mental health resources to New York Public Library branches in federally-designated mental health shortage areas

NEW YORK—The Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC and The New York Public Library (NYPL) today announced “Spaces to Thrive,” a new partnership to promote mental health across the city and connect Library visitors to mental health support. 

“We created ThriveNYC to help reach people with mental health services wherever they are, and today, we’re serving New Yorkers in schools, senior centers, shelters, and police precincts,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Libraries are in the heart of our communities, and we are honored to partner with an institution that has provided New Yorkers with free, accessible programming for 100 years. This new partnership will allow us to reach even more people in our city with information about mental health resources and support.”

Spaces to Thrive will launch in 13 branches, including Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street, Bronx Library Center, Woodstock Library, Mariners Harbor Library, Francis Martin Library , Pelham Bay Library, Soundview Library, Westchester Square Library, Countee Cullen Library, Kips Bay Library, Mulberry Street Library, Hamilton Grange Library, and Harry Belafonte-115th Street Library. Each of these branches is in a federally-designated mental health shortage area, and were chosen with input from librarians.

The partnership includes several components:

  • On-site mental health workshops on topics such as suicide prevention, Mental Health First Aid, Social-Emotional Learning, and more. These workshops will be conducted by groups including the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, who will provide support through their Mental Health First Aid trainings, FloraMind, Safe Horizon, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Jed Foundation.
  • A dedicated ThriveNYC bookshelf featuring books on mental health that were jointly selected by ThriveNYC and NYPL, and information about free ThriveNYC services. These include both fiction and non-fiction books about living with mental health challenges, and will be available in multiple languages whenever possible.
  • A public education campaign to raise awareness of these mental health resources.

First Lady Chirlane McCray, joined by NYPL President and CEO Anthony Marx and Susan Herman, Director of the Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC, announced the program today at New York Public Library’s Bronx Library Center. The event also featured author John Wray, who read from Lowboy, one of the books included in the partnership.

“The Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC exists to fill critical gaps in our mental health system, and each of these library branches is in a neighborhood where services may still be too hard to come by. That’s why we’re here, putting books and programs in neighborhoods where they’ll make a real difference,” added Susan Herman, Director of the Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC.

“Public libraries have always played a key role in supporting the overall wellness of our city, offering all New Yorkers free and open access to a wide variety of programs, classes, information and resources to help them grow and succeed,” said Anthony W. Marx, President of The New York Public Library. “This partnership with ThriveNYC is just the latest example of how we can bring reliable, important information to our communities, and work with our partners in government to support and strengthen the people of New York City.”

“Mental Health First Aid can save lives,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “The Spaces to Thrive initiative will bring these free trainings to communities across the city and make them more accessible to New Yorkers.”

“Libraries are welcoming, trusted institutions where New Yorkers can read, learn, and find a myriad of resources. To include dedicated mental health space and services in the long list of resources they offer will help connect more New Yorkers to the care and compassion they need,” said State Senator Gustavo Rivera, Chair of the Senate Health Committee. ”I’m excited that the launch of this partnership is at the Bronx Library Center, one of the most beautiful spaces in my district.”

“Our local librarians and staff are embracing new programs to keep up with changes in the way communities interact with their New York City Library branches by providing a wide range of critical services to everyday New Yorkers, including immigrant populations and non-English speaking individuals in need of legal advice, access to computers, safe places to read and study, and now with drop-in centers for mental health resources,” said Assemblymember Deborah J. Glick. “I applaud the Mayor’s Office and ThriveNYC for taking on this initiative. I look forward to informing my constituency about the innovative ways our libraries are serving federally-designated mental health shortage areas, at a time when these supports are needed most.” 

Council Member Fernando Cabrera, Chair of the Committee on Government Operations said, “This is a great partnership. The need for mental health services in New York City is tremendous and far too many New Yorkers are suffering in silence. By teaming together, ThriveNYC and the New York Public Library are promoting mental health services where they are most needed- federally-designated mental health shortage areas. This partnership is fueled by innovation and compassion, to bring information and resources directly to those who need them.”

Council Member Keith Powers, Chair of the Committee on Criminal Justice said, "Mental health services should be more readily available to those in need. By partnering with the NYPL, ThriveNYC is bringing services into communities that will directly serve New Yorkers. I thank the Mayor's office for working with the New York Public Library to benefit our residents."

“The Jed Foundation (JED) has partnered with ThriveNYC to emotionally support New York City students as they ready for the transition out of high school to college and adulthood.  Through the use of videos, interactive exercises, and small-group conversation, we are working together to ensure students are empowered and prepared emotionally to enter this next phase of life,” said Jessica Orenstein, MPH, Senior Manager for High School Programming, The Jed Foundation.

“Safe Horizon is proud to partner with ThriveNYC and the New York Public Library to provide New Yorkers with this valuable resource that raises awareness about mental health and the importance of support mechanisms for those seeking healing,” said Maureen Curtis, VP of Criminal Justice Programs at Safe Horizon. “We look forward to sharing our expertise in victimization and mental health trauma to increase support systems within the community.”

“FloraMind is thrilled to partner with Thrive NYC and the NYPL on this critical initiative providing more access to mental health services where they are needed the most. We are proud to be offering mental health education workshops to NYPL branches across all 3 boroughs covering topics like Social Media and Mental Health, Mindfulness, and Stress Management,” said Mahmoud Kedr, CEO of FloraMind.

“At the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, we have set a bold goal to reduce the suicide rate in this country 20% by 2025 but it will take all of us to reach this goal. That is why we are so excited about this partnership with NYPL and Thrive,” said Dionne Monsanto, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention NYC, Chapter Board Member. “Public and private organizations must work together if we are going to save lives and bring suicide out of the darkness.”

ABOUT THE MAYOR’S OFFICE OF THRIVENYC

The overarching aim of the Mayoral Office of ThriveNYC is to ensure that every New Yorker who needs mental health support has access to it, where and when they need it. The Office addresses needs that have gone unmet by traditional services and pilots innovative strategies. This includes new services for historically underserved special populations, expanding the range of mental health support available to New Yorkers, and enhancing mental health equity across the city. The Office works with City agencies and strategic partners to implement Thrive’s programs, maximize their effectiveness, and ensure sustainability.

ABOUT NYPL
The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves nearly 17 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at www.nypl.org. To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.


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