New York Mayor Bill de Blasio released a policy proposal this week to invest tens of millions of dollars in behavioral health. The plan includes placing mental health clinics and drug-prevention counselors in schools as well as provisions for victims’ advocates in every police precinct. Homeless shelters, senior centers and runaway youth shelters would also receive new funding.
“This funding initiative and new coordinated approach sets a course for a new national model for creating effective solutions to mental health needs,” said de Blasio in a statement. “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.”
Yet to be discussed by city council leaders, the proposal would add $54 million in mental health programs next fiscal year and $78 million in subsequent years. 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 citywide initiatives and $0.5 million for an evaluation and analysis of school mental health services models.
The proposal has the support of the local National Alliance on Mental Illness chapter.
According to the Associated Press, Blasios' college-age daughter has depression, anxiety and substance abuse diagnoses, and his wife has made mental health policy a personal cause.