The Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health promotes mental health for all New Yorkers

Our approach

We are working toward a New York City where more New Yorkers get the mental health treatment they need and fewer mental health needs become crises.

To get there, we oversee strategies to close critical gaps in mental healthcare so every New Yorker, in every neighborhood, has the support they need. We partner with city agencies and nearly 200 non-profit organizations to implement innovative programs that reach hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers every year. We reach people with the highest need – those with serious mental illness, those harmed by trauma, and those living in historically underserved neighborhoods. And we eliminate barriers to care for all New Yorkers by providing free services in over 200 languages, regardless of insurance or immigration status.

Formally established in 2021 by Executive Order 68 and Local Law 155, and building on the work of the ThriveNYC initiative, the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health continues this work by tackling critical gaps in our mental healthcare system and activating every part of City government to promote mental health.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated profound mental health needs and inequities. As we work toward a recovery, we will need to prioritize mental health for all of us.

 

Our goals

Our programs, policy coordination, and partnerships advance four goals: 

o   Promote mental health for the youngest New Yorkers

o   Reach people with the highest need

o   Strengthen crisis prevention and response

o   Eliminate barriers to care

In all parts of our work, the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health prioritizes equity and inclusion and builds the evidence base for innovative approaches. For all our programs, we track metrics and regularly publish data on programmatic reach and the impact these programs are having on New Yorkers’ lives.


How our approach is changing New York City

To understand the population-level effect of our programs and how these programs are closing gaps in mental health care, the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health engaged a Science Advisory Group. This Science Advisory Group was comprised of leading national and international experts in epidemiology, treatment, care and the social drivers of mental health. In early 2020, this Science Advisory Group determined two population-level measures that can be directly tied to our work. If the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health continues closing gaps in care, New York City will see changes in the following population-level measures:

  • More New Yorkers with mental health needs are connected to treatment
    Defined as 1) more New Yorkers with an identified mental health need receive treatment, and 2) greater equity in connection to treatment.
  • Fewer mental health needs become crises
    Defined as 1) fewer mental health emergencies, as measured by 911 dispatches and emergency department visits, and 2) less disparity in mental health emergencies.

In assessing progress on these measures, it’s important to acknowledge that many factors contribute to mental health and the need for mental health care. For example, in New York City, experiences of discrimination or racism, material hardship, poor home living conditions, few social ties, or perceiving your neighbors as unwilling to help in their communities can all be associated with poor mental health (source). Achieving equity in mental health will require addressing these overarching social factors to meet the financial, environmental, and social needs of New Yorkers (source).

To learn about some of the progress we’ve made on these measures, visit the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health testimony before City Council in September 2021.

 

The Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health Science Advisory Group membership included:

·  Co-Chair: Vikram Patel, MBBS, PhD: Harvard Medical School

·  Co-Chair: Susan Herman, JD: Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health

·  Margarita Alegria, PhD: Disparities Research Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital; Harvard Medical School

·  Preeti Chauhan, PhD: John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the Graduate Center, City University of New York

·  Mandy Davis, LCSW, PhD: Regional Research Institute, School of Social Work, Portland State University; Trauma Informed Oregon

·  Lisa B. Dixon, MD, MPH: Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons; New York State Psychiatric Institute

·  Susan Essock, PhD: Columbia University

·  Hillary Kunins, MD, MPH, MS: Division of Mental Health, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

·  Sungwoo Lim, DrPH: Division of Epidemiology, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

·  Brian McGregor, PhDMorehouse School of Medicine

·  Vicky Ngo, PhD: City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy; RAND Corporation

  

Learn more about our programs.

Download our programmatic budget.

Explore a list of our non-profit partners.

Download a map of where we have added services and support across New York City.