BDS Testimony before the New York City Council regarding Mental Health Involuntary Removals and Mayor Adams' Recently Announced Plan

The Mayor’s response to the mental health crisis relies on a short-term emergency response which will not meet the short- or long-term needs of people living with mental illness. Forcibly removing people perceived to be mentally ill from the street to the most restrictive setting is not only inhumane, it also ineffective in facilitating the goal of engaging people in mental health treatment.

Forcible removals by the police entail a risk of danger to the person who is experiencing a mental health crisis. When police respond to calls related to mental health crises, they are frequently not trained nor prepared, which is why these calls commonly result in harmful, if not fatal, outcomes. These interactions with police do not result in obtaining proper care for the person in crisis—but rather, the opposite happens. These interactions routinely result in handcuffs and incarceration. “It’s why some U.S. jails hold more people with serious mental health conditions than any treatment facility in the country.” These interactions also make people vulnerable to police violence; in 2021, at least 104 people across the country were killed after police responded to someone “behaving erratically or having a mental health crisis.”

View the full testimony here.

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