To Help New Yorkers with Serious Mental Illness, We Must Invest in Peer and Family Services - NAMI-NYC

To Help New Yorkers with Serious Mental Illness, We Must Invest in Peer and Family Services

New York, NY, March 15, 2023—In response to Care, Community, Action: A Mental Health Plan for New York City, the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC), Matt Kudish, CEO, stated: 

We express our gratitude to Mayor Adams and Commissioner Vasan for mentioning family support for caregivers of people with serious mental illness (SMI) in the plan. The creation of new mental health programs to support both youth and families is promising.

However, we must also recognize the ongoing efforts of community-based organizations, including NAMI-NYC. At NAMI-NYC, we are already offering family support programs, which are proven to reduce psychiatric emergency room use and hospitalizations. We are proud to provide completely free, community-based programs with no waitlist for families, including family psychoeducation classes to learn about and manage their loved ones’ mental illness, culturally responsive support groups and social groups, family mentoring programs, a Helpline, and so much more.

NAMI-NYC is also addressing the youth mental health crisis with Ending the Silence, an evidence-based program for middle and high school students, their parents, and school staff, in schools throughout New York City. As we have asked before, with no success, we hope to see a meaningful financial investment and the opportunity to collaborate with the City to bring these free programs to even more schools and communities throughout the five boroughs.   

We are always encouraged to see greater involvement of peers in crisis response. We would appreciate clarification in the plan as to whether peers are truly being added to all crisis response teams, including B-HEARD teams, in addition to the City’s Intensive Mobile Treatment (IMT) and Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) teams. If we truly want to put an end to the recurring pattern of innocent lives being taken by the NYPD, it is imperative the City follows the Correct Crisis Intervention Today of New York City’s (CCIT-NYC) model, which centers peers and has no police involvement.    

As we have communicated to the administration on multiple occasions to various departments, NAMI-NYC welcomes the chance to leverage our more than forty years of experience and expertise supporting families and peers.  If the administration is ever interested in engaging existing stakeholders to inform their initiatives, our doors are open.