For the first time in the city’s history, Mayor de Blasio announced Tuesday that the new mental health professionals and crisis workers will be the dispatched through 911, instead of the NYPD, to respond to mental health emergencies in two high-need communities — calling the pilot program a “major innovation.”
According to the mayor, the ongoing pandemic “pointed out such horrible disparities that we have to address but it also brought issues to the fore in a new way and nowhere is that more true than on the topic of mental health.”
“One in five New Yorkers struggle with a mental health condition. Now, more than ever, we must do everything we can to reach those people before crisis strikes,” de Blasio said. “For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need.”
Everyone wants to assist the mentally ill. No one wants to see them hurt themselves.
But we don’t want to see them hurt anyone else either, and being mentally ill, they don’t make that distinction the way others do. Police history is loaded with examples of mentally ill people going from 0-to-100 in an instant – and sometimes well beyond 100.
At some point, some mental health professional egghead is going to meet a 300 pound monster who isn’t going to go quietly and won’t listen to reason, and then we’re going to be treated to the wails of “How could this happen in America?” and “Where were the police?”
And we’re going to have to say, “Sitting here in the corner with our Taser, baton, come-along, leg irons, shackles and gun wondering what’s for lunch.