Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
“I praise every person who has taken that courageous first step to call, text, or chat, and I applaud our incredible counselors who are committed to serving their fellow New Yorkers,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray.
By Forum Staff
NYC Well, the City’s free, confidential mental health support helpline, has exceeded maximum initial projections by 25 percent since its launch in late October 2016, First Lady Chirlane McCray announced on Friday.
During the first eight months of operation, McCray noted that NYC Well received more than 170,000 calls, texts and chats; the high demand for service prompted the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to expand its capacity.
“For too long, too many New Yorkers didn’t know where to turn when they needed mental health services. Now, just eight months after launching, thousands of people have placed calls to NYC Well for help connecting to mental health services, for themselves or someone they love,” McCray added. “NYC Well is a free and confidential helpline, which means no one has to struggle alone, and the popularity of the service helps lessen the stigma around mental health that still plagues our communities. I praise every person who has taken that courageous first step to call, text, or chat, and I applaud our incredible counselors who are committed to serving their fellow New Yorkers.”
According to the administration, NYC Well is a connection to counseling, crisis intervention, peer support and referrals to ongoing treatment services serving all five boroughs. The ThriveNYC program is available 24/7, accessible in more than 200 languages and staffed by professional mental health counselors at the NYC Well Call Center. The program is administered by the Mental Health Association of New York City and funded through the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
According to the City, the NYC Well Call Center Staff provides support at three intervention levels:
Crisis – Counselors handle the majority of calls requiring immediate de-escalation services – offering safety planning strategies and other forms of support.
Support – Counselors cater to those in need of better coping mechanisms or assistance with de-escalating concerns.
Information & Referral – Counselors educate individuals about a variety of mental health and substance misuse services.
“NYC Well has gone above and beyond our expectations in providing New Yorkers a service that uses the ways we communicate now: call, text and chat,” said Health Commissioner Mary Bassett, M.D. “I want to remind all New Yorkers who are concerned about their mental health or the mental health of a loved one that they can reach NYC Well at any hour of the day, any day of the year. Pursuing health is never a sign of weakness.”
According to officials, of those who contacted NYC Well from October 2016 to June 2017, 13 percent were identified as individuals in crisis, 47 percent were seeking support and 40 percent needed information or a referral for services. Since the beginning of the program, 7,679 people consented to follow-up services and 2,732 people requested to be transferred to immediate behavioral health services by NYC Well counselors.
“NYC Well makes it easy for all New Yorkers to get the care they need by calling, texting or chatting. No one should be in a situation where they don’t know what to do for themselves or a loved one who is experiencing mental health challenges. After eight full months of service it is clear that NYC Well is meeting a significant need across all five boroughs within NYC,” said Richard Buery, deputy mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives.