City officials have launched a hotline to help NYPD officers decide whether someone should be forcibly removed from the streets, the subways and other public spaces and sent to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation.
At a City Council hearing Monday, Jason Hansman, the deputy director of Mental Health Initiatives, Crisis Response and Community Capacity from the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health, said City Hall launched the hotline last week.
The clinician-staffed hotline, will “provide support and advise the police officers in real time” as officers consider how to respond to individuals with presumed mental health needs while on the job, Hansman said. The City Council convened the hearing on Mayor Eric Adams’ controversial plan for involuntary removals, even if a person does not appear to pose a threat to themselves or others.
The hotline creation comes about two months after the mayor unveiled this plan to address the city’s growing homelessness and mental health crisis.
The mayor empowered the police and first responders to take a person who appears to be mentally ill and cannot support their “basic human needs” to go to a hospital for an evaluation whether the person wants to or not.
Hansman did not say whether the 24/7 hotline is staffed by psychologists, psychiatrists, doctors, nurses or other health professionals.
He also did not say how many people have been forced to go into the hospital since Adams announced his plans in late November. A spokesperson for the mayor did not respond to a request for the information.
But Jamie Neckles, assistant commissioner of the Bureau of Mental Health for theDepartment of Health and Mental Hygiene, said during the hearing that the city’s mobile crisis team removed 42 individuals in December.
Neckles did not say how many of the 42 people were admitted after the city workers took them to the hospitals, telling the panel of councilmembers that she did not “have that information available.”