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Fact Sheet: Developing a More Effective and Inclusive Mental Health System in New York City

May 5, 2015

Today, the de Blasio Administration is announcing a major new investment in mental health as part of its Executive Budget, with $54.4 million FY16 and $78.3 million in FY17 and beyond to build a more effective and inclusive mental health system in New York City.

For far too long, mental health challenges in New York City have gone unaddressed. Research suggests that the average onset of mental illness happens at age 14, and the delay from first symptoms to receiving care is nine years. In any given year, 1 in 4 adults in New York State experiences a mental health challenge, while 1 in 17 has a serious mental illness. 

A 2015 Mental Health America report found that in New York State, only 38.9 percent of adults with any mental illness report receiving care and 17.9 percent of adults with any mental illness report having an unmet need for treatment. The same report found that 35.6 percent of children in New York State who needed mental health care did not receive it.

Creating a National Model

In the FY16 Executive Budget, the de Blasio Administration is making targeted investments to address the mental health crisis facing New York City. For at least 30 years the City has failed to look across agencies and disciplines to address the full need for mental health services. For the first time in three decades, the City will pursue a coordinated, multi-agency effort.

To quickly increase access to mental health services for the most vulnerable New Yorkers, the City will expand co-located mental health services with existing City services in non-clinical settings.

These investments represent the first step in an unprecedented effort to ensure that we are fully addressing mental health needs of New Yorkers, no matter their income level, and integrate services into daily life. This funding initiative and new coordinated approach sets a course for a new national model for creating effective solutions to mental health needs. This fall, the administration will release a “roadmap” that will quantify the full magnitude of mental health crisis facing the city, and offer strategies to address the burden.

Reaching the Most Vulnerable New Yorkers Quickly 

  • Children and Families in shelter: Provide mental health services in all contracted family shelters that serve 8,900 families in the City’s family shelters.
  • Runaway and homeless youth: Provide on-site mental health services for all runaway and homeless youth who pass through the City’s shelters – up to 2,100 annually. 
  • Survivors of Domestic Violence: Provide on-site care in all family justice centers for the 36,507 individuals who visit a family justice center annually.
  • Children and families attending Community Schools: Create more than 80 new School Based Mental Health Clinics – a 60 percent increase over the number of existing clinics – to provide mental healthcare access to every Community School student, an estimated 62,000 school children. Expand substance abuse prevention programs at Community Schools.

New Programs to Strengthen and Expand the Network of Mental Health Services in New York City

Mental Health Clinics and Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialists in all Community Schools
The budget provides $11.2 million in FY16 and $13.2 million in FY17 and beyond to complete mental health needs assessments in all 130 Community Schools and to open mental health clinics, as needed, in these schools. Each clinic would be staffed by at least one licensed clinical social worker. This program will provide mental health services to 62,083 students at a ratio of one clinician per 500 students.

The budget also provides $2 million in City funds in FY16 to place 50 additional Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention Specialists Counselors in Renewal and Persistently Failing Schools, reaching the 27,894 students in the 70 Renewal and Persistently Failing Schools that currently do not have a program.

Mental Health Services for all youth in Runaway and Homeless Youth Shelters
The budget provides $0.9 million in FY16 and $1.5 million in FY17 and beyond to offer mental health services to all youth in the 15 runaway and homeless youth shelters. There are currently 353 youth in these shelters and an additional 100 beds will come online in 2016. In 2014 there were 2100 youth throughout the year.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse programming for all youth at Rikers Island
The budget provides $1.7 million in FY16 and $3.7 million in FY17 and beyond, to provide psychiatric assessments and after-school therapeutic arts programming for all youth under 21 and substance abuse programming for 16-21 year olds.

Mental Health services in all contracted Family Shelters
The budget provides $5.3 million in FY16 and $8.9 million in FY17 and beyond to place licensed clinical social workers as client care coordinators in all contracted family shelters. This initiative will provide 8,900 families with access to clinical mental health services in the 72 contracted family shelters. At full implementation, the program provides for $27.2 million annually in mental health clinical services for families living in shelter (city funds and state matching funds).

Health services in all Family Justice Centers in partnership with the Health and Hospitals Corporation
The budget provides $1 million in FY16 and $1.7 million in FY17 and beyond to full-time mental health services at all family justice centers. 36,507 people visit family justice centers a year. Family justice centers serve survivors of domestic violence. At full implementation, the program provides for $3.3 million annually to the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence (city funds and state matching funds).

Relationship Counseling for all Foster Care Teens
The budget provides $0.1 million of city funds for a total of $.250 million to facilitate healthy relationship training for all NYC teens in foster care. This investment will offer 5,000 youth, ages 11 to 21, with healthy relationship training at 300 workshops annually. The program also includes workshops and training for foster parents. NYC has approximately 4,000 teens age 13 and over in foster care in a single year.

Geriatric Mental Health in Senior Centers
The budget provides $0.8 million in FY16 and $1.4 million in FY17, to place a licensed clinical social worker in the city’s 20 largest senior centers. It is estimated that 30 percent of seniors in the city experience some form of mental illness. But, it is unclear whether this is as prevalent in seniors that attend the city’s network of 251 senior centers or is more likely to afflict those who are homebound. This initiative will evaluate the efficacy of co-locating mental health services in the city’s senior centers.

Addressing the mental health challenges that result from the trauma experienced by crime victims
The budget provides $4.1 million in FY16, $8 million in FY17 and $12.1 million in FY18 and beyond, to place Victim Advocates at all NYPD Precincts and Housing Bureau Police Service Areas (PSA). This investment will provide one General Victim Advocate and one Domestic Victim Advocate at 71 precincts and all nine Housing Bureau PSA’s. The remaining six precincts will have one Victim Advocate to serve both general victims and domestic violence victims. At full implementation, the program provides for $14.7 million annually to the New York Police Department (city funds and state matching funds).

Coordinated Mental Health Planning
This year is the first time in more than 30 years that we are looking across agencies and evaluating the mental health resources throughout City government. That’s why the budget also includes resources to increase this coordination and analysis.

The budget provides for $0.6 million to create and manage a multi-agency planning process, provide technical and analytic support, and oversee community outreach in support of these city-wide mental health initiatives and $0.5 million for an evaluation and analysis of school mental health services models.

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