OP-ED: “As New Yorkers Face a Mental Health Crisis, We Can’t Afford to Lose the Resources ThriveNYC Provides”

Last week, CASES CEO Joel Copperman and Safe Horizon CEO Liz Roberts penned an op-ed urging support for ThriveNYC’s mental health care initiatives, which have been especially important in the communities most impacted by COVID-19This includes funding for the CASES Intensive Mobile Treatment (IMT) teams. Seven other community-based nonprofits cosigned the letter. 

As New York City continues to navigate the fallout of COVID-19, a new crisis is upon us. In October 2020, nearly 40% of New Yorkers reported symptoms of anxiety and/or depression. In January 2021, The New York Times reported fivefold increases in psychologist services and long waiting lists for mental health care. A mental health crisis in New York City is playing out among family members in cramped apartments; among frontline workers providing essential services in grocery aisles, delivery trucks, and emergency rooms; and increasingly in the city’s public spaces like sidewalks and subways. 

Our city is not unique in facing a public mental health emergency. However, one piece of good news is that we are uniquely prepared to respond.  

Though often maligned by some, the ThriveNYC initiative has consolidated and strengthened New York City’s broad spectrum of mental health services, from efforts to destigmatize asking for help to intensive 24/7 treatment for people living with serious mental illness. While public policy efforts must be—and are—held accountable for resource allocation and results, ThriveNYC’s innovation in how a large and complex city approaches its residents’ mental health is the kind of groundbreaking civic initiative that has long-defined New York City. 

 Read the full op-ed on Gotham Gazette 

Photo: Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography