NYC Council Mental Health Roadmap 

April 25, 2023 (Reposted from NYAPRS ENews)

NYAPRS Note: Yesterday, the New York City Council released its Mental Health Roadmap promoting “a focus on increased prevention services, especially at the community level, addressing the mental health workforce shortage, confronting the harmful intersections between mental health and the criminal justice system, and increasing public awareness about available programs while improving interagency coordination to enhance the continuity of care”

We are very pleased to see that our friends at Correct Crisis Intervention Today, Community Access, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and National Alliance on Mental Illness–New York City have provided input to the plan. We are also very pleased to see proposed legislation requiring the Adams administration to submit data on the implementation of its controversial policy clarifying when and how to involuntarily remove mentally ill people from public spaces. NYAPRS is vigorously opposed to this policy and strongly support the requirement for public reporting and Council oversight.

As the Daily News reports, “locking down those expenditures will likely prove challenging. Indeed, Mayor Adams and the City Council have clashed in recent days over current budget negotiations, with the mayor contending the city has less money at its disposal than Council numbers crunchers have projected.” Asked how the Council is prepared to field pushback from the administration, the Speaker played coy Monday, saying simply that she isn’t “looking forward to push back.” “We’re going to deal with it,” she said. “We’re going to be as forceful as we are with, you know, with anything that is a vital and critical issue to all New Yorkers.”      

See the full plan at  Here’s an article in Crain’s this morning, formatted by NYAPRS to emphasize certain provisions.

We’ll have more analysis in the coming days.

City Council Unveils Mental Health Roadmap Emphasizing Prevention, Workforce Growth (formatting by NYAPRS)

By Jacqueline Neber Crain’s Health Pulse   April 25, 2023

The City Council on Monday revealed its mental health roadmap, which emphasizes increasing funding around prevention services in an effort to help the city combat its growing mental health crisis.

The roadmap has four pillars:

  1. prioritizing preventive and supportive services,
  2. addressing the workforce shortage,
  3. looking into mental health’s intersection with the criminal justice system and
  4. bolstering interagency communication around mental health initiatives.

Each pillar has city, state and federal actions tied to it.

“This crisis has been shaped by years of neglect, stigma and inadequate public policy. For too long this city has not focused efforts where they are most needed to address mental health,” Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said at a press conference Tuesday. “The city has over-relied on emergency and crisis responses. This approach has been expensive, dehumanizing and, in too many cases, deadly.”

The council released this roadmap about seven weeks after Mayor Eric Adams unveiled the second phase of his own mental health plan, which focuses on how the city can expand services for New Yorkers with severe mental illness.

His second phase, revealed in March, follows a controversial first phase that garnered the criticism of community organizations and advocates. That first plan, announced in November, includes a directive emphasizing the authority of law enforcement officers, outreach workers and mental health professionals to involuntarily transport New Yorkers who seem to be unable to meet their basic needs to hospitals.

Back in November, Speaker Adams called on the mayor’s office to produce concrete details about his plan. By contrast, the council’s roadmap includes more than three dozen action items at the city, state and federal level.


To provide more preventive and supportive services, the council will consider legislation by Majority Leader Keith Powers that would expand the number of crisis respite centers by at least two per borough. There are currently four throughout the boroughs that provide a community-based alternative to hospitalization.

The council will also consider legislation to expand Clubhouse community centers, where New Yorkers can access resources, advocate for adequate funding for school-based mental health services, encourage City Hall to earmark $5 million for the Mental Health Continuum partnership and advocate for adequate funding for youth mental health programs. According to the roadmap, the council will also provide mental health first aid training for staff.

Meanwhile, the council said it will call on the state and Gov. Kathy Hochul to make sure 150 state-run psychiatric hospital beds come back into service–and increase the fines for hospitals that don’t comply to up to $2,000 per day.

The preventive pillar also focuses on housing as a way to mitigate mental health concerns. To that end, the roadmap says, the council will call on the Adams administration to

  • revamp its 15/15 supportive housing plan, which in 2015 set out to develop 15,000 units of supportive housing in the next 15 years, and put an additional $45 million toward it.
  • On the state side, Powers will put forward a resolution to have the state and the city reintroduce a NY/NY Supportive Housing Program to increase development and contracting.


A quarter of the roadmap focuses on strengthening and retaining the mental health workforce, which is currently in crisis, along with the hospital, nursing home and direct support professional workforces.

To address the crisis, the council will advocate for the fiscal 2024 city budget to

  • include funding for nonprofit and community-based organizations, as well as to
  • fund and establish a social work fellows program at one or more City University of New York schools.
  • And the council will continue to advocate for pay parity for mental health workers.
  • The council plans to call on the city and the state to increase Medicaid reimbursements for mental health services in order to expand access for families with middle incomes.


At the press conference, Speaker Adams emphasized the city’s responsibility to ensure the criminal justice system is not a stand-in for mental health care. When about half of the people on Rikers Island have a mental health problem, “quite frankly, we have failed,” she said. According to the roadmap, Rikers is now counted as one of the three largest providers of psychiatric care in the U.S., and about 12% of New York’s prison population has a severe mental illness.

To address this, the council will consider legislation introduced by Council member Linda Lee, chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction, that would

  • require the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health to report on implementation of the involuntary transport directive.

The council will also advocate for the city budget to

  • include adequate funding for street outreach teams as well as the expansion of the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s intensive mobile treatment teams and assertive community treatment teams.
  • Furthermore, the council will push for the budget to include $12.8 million for 380 units of justice-involved supportive housing.


To facilitate communication between city agencies, the council will consider legislation from Council member Eric Bottcher that would require the Adams administration to

  • conduct outreach on mental health services provided by NYC Care and
  • (approve) legislation from Lee that would create an outpatient mental health services location data set for New Yorkers.

To create the roadmap, the council worked with stakeholders from community organizations including Correct Crisis Intervention TodayCommunity AccessNew York Lawyers for the Public Interest and National Alliance on Mental Illness–New York City.

Matt Kudish, the executive director of NAMI-NYC, said he is encouraged by the roadmap and the collaboration that created it. “They were open to hearing our thoughts about things that needed to be either phrased or framed differently, or added entirely,” he said.

The council’s proposed legislation will be discussed at a May 4 hearing by the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addiction.

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