Saving Lives, Reducing Trauma: Removing Police from NYC’s Mental Health Crisis Response

October 18, 2021

Health Justice, News, Press Release, Transforming Mental Health Crisis Response

A protest for better mental health crisis response

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) released Saving Lives, Reducing Trauma: Removing Police from New York City’s Mental Health Crisis Response, a report documenting the results of a survey of New Yorkers who have experienced mental health crises. The report uncovers disturbing trends as a result of police response in these situations. The survey responses underscore that when police are deployed as first responders to the crises, individuals experience fear, trauma and deepening distrust of mental health systems and resources, deterring people from seeking further help.

Monday marked the five-year anniversary of the fatal police shooting of Deborah Danner, one of 18 people killed by police while experiencing a mental health crisis in New York City since 2015. In New York City, police are the longstanding de facto first responders to mental health crises, and the repeated violent encounters with people experiencing a crisis show that the police are not equipped to de-escalate and safely address mental health crises.

NYLPI, in collaboration with the National Alliance on Mental Illness of New York City (NAMI-NYC), Voices of Community Activists & Leaders (VOCAL-NY) and Correct Crisis Intervention Today NYC (CCIT-NYC), formulated and conducted the survey in support of our work to transform the City’s mental health crisis response system by shifting from a police-based response to health professionals and trained peers (those with lived mental health experience).

Read the full report here.

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