Bay Ridge

Malliotakis vows to work with Cuomo to help mentally ill

GOP mayoral candidate introduces 12-point plan

August 16, 2017 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Nicole Malliotakis says current city policy toward the severely mentally ill has resolved in a revolving door of incarceration for patients. Photo courtesy of Malliotakis’s campaign

Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, the presumed Republican nominee for mayor, said she would be willing to work with Gov. Andrew Cuomo to solve the public safety risk posed by New Yorkers with severe mental illnesses. 

A few days after publicly unveiling her 12-point “Treatment B4 Crisis Plan” to help the mentally ill, Malliotakis said that unlike Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is often at odds with the governor, she would work with him. 

“I would work with the governor on this issue,” Malliotakis told the Brooklyn Eagle. 

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Charging that “there is a neglect of the seriously mentally ill,” Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) presented the “Treatment B4 Crisis Plan” at a press conference in front of City Hall on Monday. 

Among the points included in the plan are a robust implementation of Kendra’s Law, a proactive approach to mental health evaluation and care in city facilities, requiring more supportive housing units be allocated to those with mental illness and an expanded psychiatric capacity in city hospitals operated by the Health & Hospitals Corporation.

Enacted in 1999, Kendra’s Law is a New York state law that gives judges the authority to order mentally ill people to undergo psychiatric treatment on an involuntary outpatient basis. 

The 12-point plan is aimed at refocusing the city’s efforts on the seriously mentally ill as opposed to the de Blasio administration’s ThriveNYC program, which is concentrated on the high-functioning mentally ill population, according to Malliotakis.

“Under the de Blasio administration we have witnessed a growth in incidents with seriously mentally ill individuals who have become lost in a system that is mostly geared for the high-functioning mentally ill. When these individuals act out, they put all New Yorkers at risk,” Malliotakis said.


In an interview with the Eagle, Malliotakis listed a litany of incidents in which police officers, EMTs and other New Yorkers were killed or seriously injured in attacks perpetrated by mentally ill suspects, including the murders of NYPD Officer Miosotis Familia, who was shot to death while inside a marked police vehicle, and EMT Yadira Arroyo, who was run over.

In another disturbing incident, Officer Hart Nguyen was shot three times by an emotionally disturbed man who later shot himself to death. The officer wore a bullet proof vest that saved his life.   

“Every day New Yorkers witness the realities of mental illness on the streets of our city and through reports in the media,” Malliotakis said. “Many severely mentally ill people live in a revolving door of incarceration. Their family members have cried out for help. We cannot continue to stand by and do nothing.”

Joining Malliotakis at the news conference were DJ Jaffe, executive director of Mental Illness Policy Org. and author of the book “Insane Consequences;” Erik Tjornhom Sr., a former member of the NYPD and a mental health social worker; and David Hochauser a former member of the American Red Cross of Greater New York.

Jaffe said Malliotakis’ approach offered “smart, workable solutions” to the problem 

“Unlike Mayor de Blasio’s ThriveNYC plan, the Malliotakis plan focuses city mental health resources on those who are the most seriously ill, rather than the highest functioning and least symptomatic. Because of that, it will have a much greater impact on reducing homelessness, arrest, incarceration and suicide. Her plan will keep the public, police and patients safer,” Jaffe said. 

The “Treatment B4 Crisis Plan” proposes mandatory evaluations of prisoners with mental illness who are being released to see what services they need to stay safe in the community.

Malliotakis said she also supports easier access to psychiatric hospitalization.

 


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