NEW YORK, NY – New York’s mental health-care system isn’t connecting many seriously mentally ill individuals with treatment to properly address their psychiatric disorders, and state government should expand access to its inpatient system instead of trying to reduce reliance on it.
Since deinstitutionalization of its psychiatric institutions began in the 1960s, New York State has prioritized outpatient care for the seriously mentally ill. This has led to a rise in the number of seriously ill individuals being homeless or in jail, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow Stephen Eide notes in his new report, “Systems Under Strain: Deinstitutionalization in New York State and New York City.”
Untreated serious mental illness continues to be a contributor to instances of public disorder in New York City, with case after case of seriously mentally ill individuals being untreated or stopping medication and then committing violent crimes, injuring and sometimes killing others.
A recent reduction in beds in state psychiatric centers has coincided with increased pressure on the city’s homeless services and criminal justice systems.
Eide notes in the report:
- Under the OMH’s “Transformation Plan,” non-forensic state psychiatric centers in New York City have lost about 15% of their total adult bed capacity during 2014–18, while the average daily census has declined by about 12%.
- From 2015 to 2017, the number of homeless seriously mentally ill in New York City increased by about 2,200, or 22 percent. To address this rise, city government opened six new dedicated mental health shelters between FY2014 and FY2018. As of FY2018, there were 28 such shelters citywide, costing about $150 million.
- There are more beds in mental health shelters in New York City than the combined number of adult beds in state psychiatric centers and adult psychiatric beds in the NYC Health + Hospitals network.
- In New York City, the number of police responses to “emotionally disturbed person” calls has grown every year since 2014. The number of seriously mentally ill inmates in city jails has also risen during the same span.
Click here to read the full report