/ January 4, 2022

Daily News: Letter to the Editor from Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health Director Susan Herman

DEC 31, 2021

More than a punching bag: ThriveNYC is working

Manhattan: The Daily News published yet another inaccurate story about ThriveNYC, continuing a false narrative that’s harmful to the mental health of New Yorkers in need (”Mental health plan didn’t quite ‘thrive,’ ” Dec. 29). Let’s correct the record.

The Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health, built on ThriveNYC’s strong foundation, has had an undeniable, measurable impact. Older adults served by clinicians we placed in senior centers are seeing significant improvements in anxiety and depression. Surveys of crime victims reveal they are feeling safer because of advocates we placed in every police precinct. We have overseen the most significant expansion of services for New Yorkers with serious mental illness in our city’s history. We expanded mobile crisis teams so they can respond within two hours for urgent needs. We created intensive mobile treatment teams to help New Yorkers who have struggled to stay connected to care remain engaged over time, with many securing permanent housing. We launched the city’s first health-only response to 911 mental health emergencies, reducing unnecessary hospitalizations and use of police.

NYC Well is widely used and effective. New Yorkers have reached out to the helpline 1.5 million times, with improved mental health continuing for at least six months after their conversation. In 2019 and 2020, the number of mental health emergency calls dropped for the first time after a decade of steady increases, and in 2019, the city saw a 13% increase in connection to treatment among adults with suspected serious psychological distress compared to 2015.

It is urgent that we build on our progress with an all-government approach activating many city agencies and more than 200 community-based partners, especially with the pandemic exacerbating existing mental health challenges and creating new ones.

Susan Herman, director, Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health

This letter was originally published by New York Daily News.