PHOTO: The interagency Mental Health Council is part of ThriveNYC, which is spearheaded by First Lady Chirlane McCray. Photo Courtesy of Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office
By Forum Staff
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced last week the permanent establishment of the City’s Mental Health Council, citing again his and the First Lady McCray’s commitment to mental health prevention and treatment.
“Mental health influences how ably we perform in every part of life – parenting, relationships, school or work, recreation, self-care and all other parts of life. That’s why we need every agency’s participation in City government to help change the culture around mental health,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, who spearheads ThriveNYC. “The breakdown of support for mental health services didn’t happen overnight, and building it up won’t happen overnight either. Creating a permanent interagency Mental Health Council will ensure the long-term collaboration needed to improve mental wellness in our city.”
Executive Order No. 15 permanently establishes the Mental Health Council to coordinate the promotion and implementation of mental health prevention and treatment programs across city agencies. The Mental Health Council, which is led by the First Lady and Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery, consists of 20 members representing mayoral agencies and offices from a variety of public sectors, including the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Administration for Children’s Services, the Police Department, Fire Department, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and the Department of Aging.
Specifically, the Mental Health Council serves as an advisory group to the mayor on initiatives that promote mental well-being, increase access to high quality mental health care, and address structural determinants of mental health; advocates for programs created to remove barriers to treatment; makes recommendations regarding legislative action to improve the lives of people suffering from mental illness and to promote mental health; and supports organizations in the public and private sectors working to provide high-quality mental health care.
“The importance of providing comprehensive mental health services to those in need cannot be overstated,” said U.S. Rep. Eliot Engel (D-Bronx & Westchester), senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee. “With the permanent establishment of the Mental Health Council, City agencies will be better able to streamline resources and improve delivery of quality care to all five boroughs. I applaud Mayor de Blasio and First Lady McCray for all of their efforts to address this critical issue and expand access to care for those who need it.”