In New York City there is an important change underway in how mental health is received. Part of Mayor DeBlasio’s The Journey Home program to reduce street homelessness is increasing the availability of mobile mental health units. The Journey Home will be taking mental health services to the homeless rather than hoping the homeless will come to them.
Mayor DeBlasio said “We have an obligation to address our broken mental health system and do all we can to connect people who are struggling to find treatment. That includes the small percentage of those with mental illness that, if left untreated, are at risk of committing violence against themselves or others.”
GROWING THE PROGRAM
The expansion of mobile mental health units isn’t going to be easy. The City is investing $21 million to hire social workers, housing specialists and legal assistants to meet the new, projected care. The program is also going to work closely with the NYPD who are often the first line of contact with homeless with mental illness.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES ALSO OFFERS MOBILE CARE
ArchCare, one of the 90 agencies that make up Catholic Charities of New York, provides a wide array of services. These include in-home short-term skilled nursing care, licensed home care services (live-in aides, home health aides, etc), special programs aimed at fall prevention, wound care, and care transitions. They also provide maternal and child care services.
But recently, ArchCare partnered with Hudson River Health Care (HRHCare) to provide a new Mobile Health Center. This will work on much the same principle as the City’s mobilization of mental healthcare; bringing the care to where it’s needed.
The Mobile Health Center will travel throughout the lower Hudson Valley, visiting farms, community agencies, parishes and faith communities, and other locations to deliver care, provide health education and offer information about community resources. The Mobile Health Center is sponsored by ArchCare and is staffed and operated by HRHCare Community Health.
AN ONGOING COMMITMENT
Catholic Charities has long been committed to the mental wellness of all New Yorkers. Since 1917, one of CCNY’s core missions has been to provide support to the physically and emotionally challenged. This is carried out through programs like ArchCare and supportive housing for those with mental illness through Catholic Charities Community Services.
Vulnerability does not only come from economic status or housing disparities, it also comes from the sometimes fragile state of mental health. Stigma against mental health often makes people reluctant to interact or seek help. Bringing the help to the person opens a whole new form of access to those who need it.