DJ Director Urges State Legislators to Adopt Model to Transform State Response to Mental Health Crises

May 20, 2021

Disability Justice, News, Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response

Text reads "Mental Health Care Not Police"

NYLPI Director of Disability Justice Ruth Lowenkron was invited by the New York State Legislature to testify on the critical need to remove police as first responders. At the Joint Mental Health Committees Hearing on Mental Health Crises on May 18, Lowenkron noted that New York City police have killed 18 people experiencing mental health crises in the last five years alone. Lowenkron hailed the proposal of Correct Crisis Intervention Today – NYC (CCIT-NYC), of which NYLPI is a member, as being “the answer” to transforming statewide responses, focusing on its call for trained peers with lived mental health experience and emergency medical technicians to respond to crises.

Other highlighted aspects of the CCIT-NYC model included routing crisis calls to a number other than 911, response teams being employed and dispatched by culturally competent community organizations, an oversight board of 51% or more peers from low-income communities of color, and a response times comparable to those of other emergencies. 

Lowenkron’s remarks were captured in StateWatch. Access the full testimony here.

Access the recording of the hearing for Lowenkron’s testimony at 1:45 and 2:01. Christina Sparrock of CCIT-NYC also speaks at 3:44 and 3:46.

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