Wrong on Mental Wellness

The Story

Mayor de Blasio and his wife are deeply committed to their mental-wellness agenda — so much so that they grew testy when some high schoolers strayed off-message. At a recent town hall with teenagers, the mayor repeatedly asked the audience to answer Chirlane McCray’s leading question about the lack of mental-health services in city schools, even though the students had other concerns that they wanted addressed. The mayor and first lady ought to focus their attention not on “wellness” but on the plight of seriously mentally ill people who wander city streets and subways and cycle in and out of jail — and they could start by pushing Albany to strengthen Kendra’s Law.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Thrive: The mayor’s signature ThriveNYC mental health program costs hundreds of millions of dollars and has the unscientific mission of preventing mental illness, the origins of which are mostly unknown. Read more.

  2. Help: Assisted Outpatient Treatment mandates, such as Kendra’s Law, reduce incarceration and homelessness among the seriously mentally ill by 70%. Read more.

  3. Deadly: Serious mental illness is associated with 29% of family homicides and 7% of all homicides. Read more.

“While the seriously mentally ill are no more violent than others, research clearly shows the untreated seriously ill are more violent than others.”

DJ Jaffe, Mental Illness Policy Org

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Treating Insanity Reasonably By Sally Satel (Winter 1995)

“Juan Gonzalez, a 43-year-old Bronx man with a history of mental illness, thought he was under orders from God when he boarded the Staten Island Ferry in July 1986 and began slashing at the crowd with his sword, killing two and wounding nine. Two days earlier, doctors at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital’s psychiatric emergency room had examined Gonzalez and released him on his promise to seek outpatient care.”

And in other news...

“With the yellow cab industry teetering on the brink of insolvency, New York City is poised to roll out what its top taxi regulator called a ‘tremendous opportunity.’”