NYC to involuntarily enlist more mentally unstable people

After a series of horrifying subway attacks, Mayor Eric Adams has dramatically expanded the city’s ability to involuntarily burden New Yorkers with chronic and untreated mental illness.

Big Apple social workers, mental health treatment teams and law enforcement officials have received new specific guidance, coordinated with state officials, that will allow them to help anyone struggling with mental health issues and unable to take care of themselves to force treatment, and not just those who pose a threat.

Hizzoner’s announcement at City Hall is the latest effort by city and state officials in recent months to bring New Yorkers who live on the city’s streets and subways — many of whom suffer from apparent psychosis — into the urban Mental health protection and safety net to persuade and persuade systems.

“When a serious mental illness leaves someone vulnerable and a danger to themselves, we have a moral obligation to help them get the treatment and care they need,” Adams said in a morning address that was televised in the five counties.

“Today we are launching a long-term strategy to help more people suffering from severe and untreated mental illness find their way to treatment and recovery.”

Ahead of today’s announcement, city and hospital employees were trained to limit the involuntary obligation program — known as Kendra’s Law — to those who pose an imminent threat not only to themselves but to the wider community.

But city hall attorneys say the guidance issued by Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Office of Mental Health in February offers a broader set of criteria that qualify for an obligation – including an apparent inability to take care of themselves – that they accept wholeheartedly now.

The mayor said expanded guidelines will be made available to police officers, social workers and mental health treatment teams, all of whom will be retrained under the new policy.

“There is a common misconception among both police and frontline crisis intervention workers that in order to be removed from the community, a person with a mental illness must be portrayed as ‘imminently dangerous,'” Adams explained. “That’s not the case.”

In addition, the city said it would set up a new hotline to provide city frontline workers with quick answers when they are unsure whether the apparently mentally ill person they encountered should be taken to the hospital .

Adams also said he would seek changes to state laws that allow for more extensive mental health screenings in hospitals for New Yorkers suffering from manifestly untreated mental illnesses and to relax the standards by which they can be required for inpatient treatment.

Homeless people and civil rights activists, who are typically among Adams’ harshest critics, seemed to applaud Hizzoner’s new plan after his City Hall speech.

“We appreciate that Mayor Adams delivered this address to draw attention to the mental health crisis facing so many New Yorkers, many of which include the people we represent,” Legal Aid said in an explanation.

One of the most high-profile subway attacks, Michelle Go’s fatal shove, was committed by a man deemed unfit to stand trial because of his untreated psychosis. NYC to involuntarily enlist more mentally unstable people


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