What you need to know about the NYC Emergency Mental Health Program

In November 2020, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the city’s new Emergency Mental Health Program, which dispatches mental health crisis workers and health professionals instead of police officers for specific nonviolent calls. According to early data, the pilot program has resulted in more people accessing professional mental health services and fewer people sent to the hospital.

According to behavioral health statistics from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), one in five adults in the United States has a mental health condition. “For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need,” said de Blasio.

From accessing mental health services in New York to seeking treatment for new mental health symptoms, here’s everything you need to know about the city’s mental health services.

NYC Emergency Mental Health Programs

Accessing Mental Health Care in New York City

With the development of new intensive mobile treatment teams under the city’s Emergency Mental Health Program, individuals with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and drug use problems can benefit from improved access to professional care. In NYC, many individuals with mental disorders face homelessness or are involved in the justice system. New mobile treatment teams help clients stay connected to care, increase stability in their lives, and reduce homelessness.

“Expanding the role of mental health in emergency services means that people with urgent behavioral health needs can quickly get appropriate and effective help from trained health professionals,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Dave A. Chokshi. Ultimately, bringing mental health support to New York City residents can help promote an environment where fewer mental health problems become crises and people with mental health disorders receive the care they need.

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Treatment Options and Mental Health Services in NYC

Mental health is essential at every stage of life—from adolescence through adulthood. According to the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC), finding ways to cope with poor mental health can boost your resilience.

Whether you’re looking to improve your mental health or searching for a new therapist, NYC offers access to a wide range of mental health services by phone, online, and in person. Some valuable resources include:

  • Talk therapy. Talk therapy is the first-line treatment for many mental illnesses, including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and depression. Working with a therapist can help you reduce the severity of your symptoms, learn new skills to cope, and foster good mental health. To find a therapist in NYC, consider asking your primary care doctor for a referral or searching for an online provider through an online therapy program.
  • Support groups. Especially for individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance use disorders, support groups offer a unique opportunity to connect with other people with similar struggles. Support groups can help you learn different ways to cope with your mental health condition, combat loneliness, and share your story. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) offers a wide range of support group resources, including NAMI Basics, NAMI Family, and NAMI Peer, for individuals with mental illnesses and their family members.
  • Advocacy groups. Local mental health associations and advocacy groups like NYC Well connect residents to free, confidential crisis counseling, mental health and substance use support, and referrals to local clinicians, psychiatrists, and psychologists.
  • Helplines. If you’re experiencing a mental health crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or the NAMI Helpline at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) for immediate support. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use, call the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Compassionate, Personalized Therapy for New Yorkers

Whether you’re experiencing new symptoms or you’ve been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, help is available.

To find a mental health provider, reach out to a therapist through The Therapy Group of NYC. We know that seeking professional help can feel overwhelming, and our compassionate, experienced therapists are available to help you every step of the way—from scheduling your first appointment to setting mental health goals. One of our professional therapists will help you explore your treatment options and define what positive mental health means to you.

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