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ThriveNYC based Mental Health Program Finally heads to Harlem, Says City Hall

City Hall has decided to divert all non-violent mental health calls from the NYPD. A new program will be launched in Harlem and East Harlem. After three months of rolling out the program, the effort didn’t even have a name.

NYC will appoint specially trained teams of Fire Department paramedics in the new initiative. Simultaneously, the city social workers will respond to non-violent emotional distress reports of the 25th, 28th, and 32nd Precincts. It will cover both the Upper Manhattan neighborhoods.

Initially, the pilot program was supposed to launch in February. However, with February nearing the end, Mayor Bill de Blasio declined to give an update during his daily briefing on Monday. He only said that there were a few last-minute details that needed some work to it. On Tuesday, a Police Department spokesman said, “We are working with ThriveNYC on this pilot to ensure that the appropriate agency responds to people in mental health crisis.”

Under the umbrella of the $1 billion ThriveNYC mental health effort fronted by First Lady Chirlane McCray comes the pilot program. In November 2015, it was launched to tackle Big Apple’s intertwined homelessness and mental health crisis.

A public awareness campaign featuring McCray was the initial predominant focus of the project. NYC established a training program for the municipal workforce, and a referral line was set up that connects to New York therapists. All this was done to protect the broader public and in the understanding that treating mental illness would prevent escalation. However, the program faced intense scrutiny very quickly.

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