BREAKING: NYC mayor launches major mental health initiative

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio launched a comprehensive mental health initiative today.

New York City mayor Bill de Blasio launched a comprehensive mental health initiative today.

By Carmen Glover

On Monday, November 22, 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, flanked by his wife, two children and staff, announced a major mental health initiative that is right on time since studies show that people who have mental illness often feel more lonely and hopeless during the holiday season.

“Maybe there’s a little hope that we can stare down these challenges and not be afraid to talk about them and seek the help that people deserve,” Mayor de Blasio said, in announcing that he will allocate $800 million over four years to fund his bold and much needed initiative named “Thrive NYC: A Road Map for Mental Health.”

Among the highlights of the initiative is the plan to train 2,250 mental health first aide workers, hire 100 school mental health consultants and hire 400 doctors for the NYC Mental Health Corps.

For a video of the Mental Health Road Map in action click here:

The mayor is no stranger to mental illness and substance abuse because he grew up in a household with a father who struggled with both. His father was an alcoholic who committed suicide when the mayor was 18. Also, de Blasio’s daughter, Chiara, 20, has battled substance abuse, anxiety and depression. Asked how she was coping during the press conference convened to talk about the initiative, Chiara smiled and said: “I’m doing better. I would say there’s always challenges.”

New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, who has spearheaded her husband’s mental health agenda, was pleased with the massive financial commitment to the issue.

“The good news is that mental illness is treatable. We know what works. We have the tools.”

As the homeless population has exploded in New York City, data has shown a correlation between mental illness and homelessness. The new mental health initiative will go a long way towards curbing homelessness by reaching affected individuals before they descend into despair and provide vital services to those who already suffer in silence––