December 16, 2022 (Posted on NYAPRS ENews)
Please welcome NYAPRS new Public Policy Director Luke Sikinyi
New York Advocates: Long-Term Fixes Needed to Aid People with Mental Illness
By Nick Reisman City Of Albany Spectrum News December 14, 2022
It’s a plan from New York City Mayor Eric Adams he says is meant to keep the streets safer and provide help for people who are struggling: Involuntary confinement and treatment of people with a mental illness.
But mental health advocates are pushing back on the involuntary confinement of people with mental illnesses, arguing that alternatives exist.
Adams this month defended the policy in an interview with NY1’s Mornings on 1.
“We are walking past our fellow New Yorkers that we know cannot make the decision of taking care of themselves to the point where they can’t meet their basic needs,” he said.
Longtime mental health advocate Harvey Rosenthal calls it the wrong approach.
“We won’t think it’s the right way to engage people,” Rosenthal said. “We don’t think it lasts. We think it’s traumatizing to people.”
Rosenthal is calling for alternatives to forced confinement that would lead to people voluntarily seeking treatment.
“We know so many ways of how to engage people voluntarily,” Rosenthal said. So to go backwards as the mayor is doing with more police, more forced treatment, is exactly the wrong way to go.”
Luke Sikinyi of the New York Association of Psychiatric Rehabilitation Services said programs like ones in place elsewhere in New York state can be models, including so-called inset teams in Westchester County.
“We’re seeing that there are people willing to take help. It’s just how you reach them,” he said. “So instead of forcing people to get help, we think there are ways of reaching them and getting to voluntarily take services.”