In response to the relentless trend of terrifying subway attacks in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams issued new guidance on Tuesday that allows the NYPD, fire department, and social workers to involuntarily commit people suffering from a “mental health crisis,” the New York Post reported.
This order gives city and state officials the power to force anyone with mental health problems or who is incapable of caring for themselves to seek treatment.
Adams said on Tuesday that there is a common misconception that both police and front-line mental health crisis intervention staff believe that someone with a mental illness must present as “imminently danger” to be removed from the community. Adams stated that this is incorrect.
Adams hopes the new directive will encourage homeless people living on the streets and in subways to get into shelters or the mental health system.
The mayor stated that if severe mental illness causes someone to be vulnerable and unsheltered, then we have a moral duty to provide the care and treatment they need.
Prior to Tuesday’s announcement by Adams, police officers, mental health treatment teams, and social workers were only trained to refer individuals to court-ordered treatment if they posed an imminent threat to the public. Under the new guidance, the mayor stated that all city staff would receive retraining.
Adams said, “Today we are embarking upon a long-term strategy to help more people suffering from severe and untreated mental illness find their path to treatment and recovery.”
A hotline will be established for city staff to contact clinicians through the new directive. This hotline will allow staff to determine whether a person they have seen should be taken care of.
Adams announced that he would advocate for state legislative changes that would require greater mental health screenings in hospitals and lower requirements for inpatient treatment.
Philip Banks III, Deputy Mayor for Public Safety, stated that public safety is dependent on mental health services.
Banks stated that public safety officials have been unable to help those in crisis for too long. These directives and propositions are common-sense ways to remove those obstacles and provide help to those who most need it.