NYC to test response to mental health crisis without police in Harlem – NBC New York

NYC to test response to mental health crisis without police in Harlem - NBC New York

New York City police will stay away from many mental health crisis appeals and social workers will instead respond in parts of upper Manhattan starting this spring, an official told lawmakers on Monday.

The trial program will start in three Harlem and East Harlem police constituencies which together accounted for a total of more than 7,400 mental health-related 911 calls last year, said Susan Herman, who heads a large city mental health initiative called ThriveNYC.

The details a plan that the city sketched out in November, aimed at preventing psychiatric crises from escalating into confrontations and providing people with more health-oriented help.

The experiment “will be a critical step in the city’s commitment to treating mental health crises as public health issues, not public safety issues,” Herman told a city council committee. She said the city hopes to broadcast the program throughout the city as soon as possible.

Some important specificities remain to be seen in practice, in particular the way in which real-time decisions on when to call police – who will always respond to calls involving a weapon or “imminent risk of harm” – will play….

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