New York City Mayor Eric Adams stated Tuesday that authorities should confront and involuntarily hospitalise street individuals with serious mental illness.
The intensive effort to get mentally ill people off the streets began in a year when New York City shelters were overcrowded and public concern about homeless crimes was high.
Adams called city people with serious and untreated mental illnesses who sleep on subway carriages and park benches “a disaster we see all around us” in his Tuesday speech.
The New York Times revealed that roughly 2,600 homes for mentally ill or homeless New Yorkers were unoccupied this month, despite decades of demand for low-income housing.
The Urban Institute, an economic and social policy think tank, found that homelessness and mental illness overlap significantly.
Because of their unstable situations, homeless people may have difficulty receiving continuous mental health therapy, according to experts. Mental illness may make it harder for homeless people to acquire a stable job, pay for housing, and battle homelessness.
NYC’s mayor said
Adams said in his 11-point plan for the next legislative session about mental health that the city needs to do more to help public mental health patients, especially those with untreated psychotic diseases.
Under the new rules, municipal authorities must hospitalise people “who pose a risk of harm to themselves even if they do not pose an immediate threat to the public,” according to Adams.
The mayor said the policy guidelines would impact mentally ill persons who pose no harm to others. Adams said authorities had intervened and involuntarily hospitalised some risky persons till now.
“A frequent assumption prevails that we cannot give involuntary help unless the client is aggressive, suicidal or posing an impending hazard,” he added.
Adams said many homeless New Yorkers with mental illness “but frequently decline it when provided” require care.
The mayor said this group “cycles in and out of hospitals and prisons” throughout the city.