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Mayor de Blasio Permanently Establishes Mental Health Council

March 31, 2016

Interagency body of at least 20 City agencies prioritizes and coordinates policies to promote mental wellbeing of New Yorkers

NEW YORK––Mayor de Blasio announced today the permanent establishment of the City’s Mental Health Council, spotlighting his and the First Lady McCray’s commitment to mental health prevention and treatment for all New Yorkers.

“Mental health influences how ably we perform in every part of life – parenting, relationships, school or work, recreation, self-care and all other parts of life. That’s why we need every agency’s participation in City government‎ to help change the culture around mental health,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, who spearheads ThriveNYC. “The breakdown of support for mental health services didn't happen overnight, and building it up won’t happen overnight either. Creating a permanent interagency Mental Health Council will ensure the long-term collaboration needed to improve mental wellness in our city.”

“Improving New Yorkers' mental health is not the sole responsibility of a single agency,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. “When one in five New Yorkers suffers a mental health illness in any given year, we are facing a public health crisis –one that every part of City government needs to come together to address. The Mental Health Council provides us with the space to do just that.”

Mayor de Blasio’s Executive Order No. 15 permanently establishes the Mental Health Council to coordinate the promotion and implementation of mental health prevention and treatment programs across City agencies. The Mental Health Council, which is led by First Lady Chirlane McCray and Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, consists of 20 members representing mayoral agencies and offices from a variety of public sectors, including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Administration for Children’s Services, the Police Department, Fire Department, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and the Department of Aging.

Specifically, the Mental Health Council has the following duties:

  • Serves as an advisory group to the Mayor on initiatives that promote mental wellbeing, increase access to high quality mental health care, and address structural determinants of mental health.
  • Advocate for mental health programs created to remove barriers to treatment.
  • Make recommendations to the Mayor regarding legislative action to improve the lives of people suffering from mental illness and to promote mental health.
  • Support and work collaboratively with the network of organizations in the public and private sectors working to provide effective, high-quality mental health care.

“The importance of providing comprehensive mental health services to those in need cannot be overstated,” said Congressman Member Eliot Engel, Senior Member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. “With the permanent establishment of the Mental Health Council, City agencies will be better able to streamline resources and improve delivery of quality care to all five boroughs. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray for all of their efforts to address this critical issue and expand access to care for those who need it.”

“The establishment of a permanent Mental Health Council will help break the barriers too many New Yorkers currently face when trying to receive access to mental health care, treatment and much more. Members of this Council represent mayoral agencies and public sector organizations, ensuring that the culture around mental health will continue to change. This ThriveNYC strategy is one of many steps taken to establish support and advocacy for mental health programs, legislative action and high-quality mental health care. Thank you Mayor de Blasio for your continued support on this very important issue,” said Council Member Andrew Cohen, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health.

The plan to create the Mental Health Council was announced as part of ThriveNYC. ThriveNYC is an unprecedented strategy and set of initiatives by the City to approach mental health as a comprehensive public health challenge involving many City agencies. ThriveNYC aims to change the conversation and stigma surrounding mental illness and provide greater access to mental health care. For more information on ThriveNYC, you can go to