November 23, 2015
We are in a public health crisis when it comes to mental health:
- At least one in five adult New Yorkers is likely to experience a mental health disorder in any given year.
- 8 percent of NYC public high school students report attempting suicide.
- More than one in four students reported feeling persistently sad or hopeless in the past year.
- Unintentional drug overdose deaths outnumber both homicide and motor vehicle fatalities.
- Substance abuse and depression cost New York City $14 billion a year in estimated productivity losses.
It's time to change the way we do business. ThriveNYC: A Roadmap to Mental Health for All is not the full solution – but it is a plan of action.
The plan lays out six principles for a more successful approach to mental health:
- Change the culture
- Act early
- Close treatment gaps
- Partner with communities
- Use data better
- Strengthen government’s ability to lead
ThriveNYC initiatives represent a total commitment of more than $850 million over the next four years, including $305 million in new commitments. In total, ThriveNYC encompasses 54 initiatives, including 23 new ones.
In addition to laying out principles to create an effective mental health system, the Roadmap introduces a number of new programs to advance mental wellness.
Change the culture
- Mental Health First Aid Training: The City will fund and facilitate the training of 250,000 New Yorkers, to better recognize the signs, symptoms and risk factors of mental illness and addiction and more effectively provide support.
- Public awareness campaign: A city-wide public awareness campaign will reshape the conversation around mental health, promoting mental wellness and early intervention and educating New Yorkers about how to get services.
- Mental Health Service Finder: Now in Beta, the Mental Health Service Finder will help New Yorkers quickly and easily find a mental health program that fits their unique needs. Users can narrow their search based on age, payment accepted, type of service and other demographic data. The finder, created in coordination with DoITT, will collect data on usage and undergo regular updates to better connect New Yorkers to care.
- Social-emotional learning in early care: Research shows that teaching social-emotional skills improves cognitive skills and academic success and reduces emotional distress and conduct problems. Using the infrastructure built with Pre-K for all, over the next three years the City will train more than 9,200 teachers, assistants and school leaders on how to teach children at all Pre-K for All and Early Learn sites self-awareness, self-management, coping, social awareness, relationship skills and improved decision making.
- More mental health in schools: Starting in 2017, the City will assess the mental health service needs in 100 more public schools. Based on these needs, the City will then open mental health clinics or provide additional services as needed. Starting immediately, the City will hire 100 School Mental Health Consultants (SMHCs) who will work with every school citywide to ensure that students in need are quickly connected to care.
Close treatment gaps
- Maternal Depression: HHC and Maimonides, along with the Greater New York Hospital Association, will ensure that that every pregnant woman and new mother in their care will be screened and treated for maternal depression, with a commitment to expand that all pregnant women and new mothers.
- Mental health services for all CUNY students: Using web-based and mobile-supported media, NYC will pilot high-quality, low-cost services to CUNY students. This program will begin with pilot programs at select campuses and eventually be expanded to all CUNY students.
- Expanded access to buprenorphine and Naloxone: Over the next three years, at least 1,000 new providers will be trained and authorized to prescribe buprenorphine, a life-saving medication that treats opioid use by stopping cravings and preventing withdrawal symptoms.
Partner with Communities
- NYC Mental Health Corps: The city will hire 400 physicians and recently graduated Masters and Doctoral-level clinicians to work in substance abuse programs, mental health clinics and primary care practices in high-need communities throughout the city. When fully staffed, this Corp can provide about 400,000 additional hours of service.
- Virtual Learning Center for Community-Based Organizations: A free, universally available Learning Center will provide a skills training library to teach community based organizations how to provide mental health support. The Learning Center will include video, tools to test skills, tips and information, patient assessments and links to resources and will help connect community groups to providers.
- Mental Health Weekend for Faith-Based Communities: Faith leaders across the city will be invited to preach on the topic of mental health on the same weekend to drive conversation and decrease stigma.
Use data better
- Mental Health Innovation Lab: The Lab, staffed by city employees, will
- Gather and share information about effective mental health strategies;
- Improve measurement of population needs with new techniques and data;
- Help test and support innovation and implementation of practices;
- Share best practices among community organizations, providers, City agencies and the Mental Health Council
Strengthen government’s ability to lead
- NYC Mental Health Council: More than 20 city agencies – including health, human services, law enforcement, education youth development and parks – will work together to manage mental health initiatives and ensure mental wellness is integrated into work across the City. The Council will be led by First Lady Chirlane McCray with Deputy Mayor Richard Buery.
- NYC Support: In 2016, we will bolster NYC’s mental health 24/7 crisis hotline and will expand to offer non-crisis referrals, scheduling and follow up to facilitate greater access to the behavioral health system. The new NYC Support will provide referrals and help New Yorkers schedule appointments with mental health providers based on needs, insurance status and geography. NYC Support will provide follow-up reminders, which reduce now-show rates for appointments. While callers are waiting for an appointment, NYC Support can provide brief counseling sessions and will check in with callers via phone, web or text message.
- Mayor’s Conference for Mental health: In 2016, the City of New York will host the first Mayor’s Conference for Mental Health. The conference will bring cities together to share new ideas and promising initiatives and send a strong message that mental wellness must play a central role in ongoing policy development.