BP Levine Unveils Comprehensive Plan Targeting City’s Escalating Mental Health Crisis

December 19, 2023

Today, Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine unveiled a 6-point policy initiative to address the challenges facing New Yorkers with serious mental illness.

Which have been exacerbated by decades of systemic disinvestment in City and State behavioral health services.

“Breaking the Cycle – A Plan to Address NYC’s Behavioral Health Crisis” outlines several key proposals, which are informed by months of research and extensive consultations with citywide stakeholders. These include:

Expansion of Psychiatric Care: Creating over 600 new in-patient psychiatric beds, including 400 new beds in the Transition to Home program on Randalls Island and 240 new beds in NYC Health + Hospitals’ Extended Care program.

Addressing Clinical Staff Shortages: Initiatives to significantly increase the behavioral health workforce across services, including expanding student loan debt forgiveness for providers and creating a new CUNY rotation for social work and psychology students.

Supportive Housing Development: Accelerating the construction of supportive housing projects, advocating for zoning text amendments to facilitate the creation of more affordable and supportive housing units, and ensuring New Yorkers are connected with the supportive housing that best suits their needs.

Community-Based Programs: Expanding community-based and peer-led programs for continuous care.

Enhanced Street Outreach: Doubling the number of Intensive Mobile Treatment teams to improve support for 1,500 New Yorkers in need, especially those facing chronic homelessness.

Overdose Crisis Response: Enabling EMS workers to administer buprenorphine for patients experiencing opioid withdrawal.

Borough President Levine stated, “In the face of a mounting mental health crisis, our city needs a robust and compassionate response. We’ve witnessed the devastating impact of a frayed behavioral health system that allows New Yorkers in need to fall between the cracks. With ‘Breaking the Cycle,’ we are proposing badly needed investment in approaches that prioritize the wellbeing and dignity of every New Yorker grappling with serious mental illness.”

Borough President Levine added, “We cannot afford to wait any longer. We must act now to help those struggling and build a more equitable and caring city for all.”

The full plan can be found here: https://www.manhattanbp.nyc.gov/initiatives/breaking-the-cycle/

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