Council Member Louis Chairs Oversight Hearing on N.Y.C’s Mental Health Emergency Response

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BROOKLYN, NY— Today, Council Member Farah Louis (D-Brooklyn) chaired her first hearing with the New York City Council Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of mental health crises and calls for help has increased, prompting an in-depth look by the five-member committee on our city’s emergency response and proposed legislation for reforms. During the nearly four-hour-long hearing, the Administration, affected families, and community advocates delivered testimony recounting their personal experiences while expressing the need for greater community input.  
STATEMENT BY COUNCIL MEMBER LOUIS
“We live in a city that has been compounded by crises that are affecting New Yorkers in unprecedented ways – emotionally, physically, and mentally. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, households are overburdened and unable to cope with new circumstances resulting in increased calls for help. The existing infrastructure is flawed, leaving families with loved ones in mental and emotional distress, fearing the worse if they dial 9-1-1. We must further explore how we can work more cohesively and secure adequate funding to expand the reach of much-needed supportive services within communities that have been victimized and criminalized for too long. We must utilize the testimony heard during today’s oversight hearing on our city’s mental health emergency response to create a plan of action informed by families, advocates, service providers, City Council members, and the Administration. I want to thank Council Member Diana Ayala and Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams for sponsoring legislation that will help us establish equitable access to care, reimagine emergency response protocols without added trauma or incident, end the racial disparities, and stigmas to support Black and Brown communities better. While I recognize this step forward is a major undertaking, it is one of necessity and great urgency to save lives today rather than wait until tomorrow,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis, Chair of the Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities, and Addictions.

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