16- and 17-year-olds hospitalized for a first episode of psychosis will now be offered free, voluntary connections to mental health services for three months
NYC START connects eligible patients to a trained social worker and peer specialist for recovery services and support
September 13, 2018 – The New York City Board of Health yesterday approved an amendment to the Health Code to lower the age to 16 when hospitals are required to report a patient admitted with first-episode psychosis to the Health Department. Psychosis includes schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders where a person has lost touch with reality. Approximately 2,000new cases of psychosis develop each year in New York City, and the Health Department estimates that 6 percent of first-episode admissions, or approximately 120 cases, occur among persons between ages 16 and 17 years. The Health Code previously required hospitals to report people between ages 18 and 30. After admission to the hospital, patients can join the Health Department’s free NYC Supportive Transition and Recovery Team (NYC START) program, which connects patients to trained social workers, peer specialists and recovery services for three months. Since NYC START launched in 2014, 1,206 eligible patients (73 percent) accepted care services, and this year 86 percent of program participants attended mental health appointments within 30 days of leaving the hospital.
“The first episode of psychosis is a critical time for intervention. We know that when we engage New Yorkers at their first episode we are more likely to get them into care and connected to critical mental health services,” said Acting Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “New Yorkers experiencing a first episode of psychosis qualify for three months of linkages to mental health services, and today’s amendment will help us connect more of them to care.”
MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Stephanie Buhle, (347) 396-4177, PressOffice@health.nyc.gov