By Katie Honan and Alyssa Katz, The City
In a scripted speech on a fraught issue, Mayor Eric Adams on Tuesday said the city’s police, mental health and other responders will step up measures to ensure people experiencing potentially dangerous episodes of serious mental illness get psychiatric evaluations and care.
“New Yorkers rightly expect our city to help them, and help them we will,” Adams said at City Hall, before making an appearance with leaders of the effort to take questions.
Focusing on the highly visible phenomenon of people behaving erratically — and sometimes violently — on city streets and subways, Adams said that months of discussions with his team and outside experts had yielded a new approach, based on a forceful interpretation of state mental health law.
Specifically, said the mayor, his administration will instruct NYPD officers and mental health teams that people should be removed to a hospital for evaluation when showing signs that they cannot care for their own “basic needs” as a result of apparent mental illness.
“My administration is determined to do more to assist people with mental illness, especially those with severe psychotic disorders who pose a risk of harm to themselves even if they don’t threaten others,” Adams said. “For too long there has been a gray area, where policy, law and accountability have not been clear. This culture of uncertainty has led to undue suffering and deep frustration.”