New York City Says It Will Respond To Mental Health Calls Without Police

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Most children are taught to call 911 in an emergency. But for Black Americans, calling 911 means taking your chances with police. Now, for two communities in New York, calling for help in a mental health crisis means treatment, not law enforcement.

“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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio in a release. “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.”

After the police killing of George Floyd reignited conversations over police brutality against Black Americans, several cities began exploring alternative programs for responding to calls for help. Currently, those in both physical and mental crisis will call 911, often triggering a police response, but lawmakers are in the process of establishing 988 as a crisis hotline.

Read more at The Hill.



  1. Wow, instead of defunding the police we are actually making some smart choices. Increased funding and services are needed to improve all lives, not just arbitrarily taking cops off the streets.

  2. Really stupid idea that will result in dead mental health workers. Most mentally ill people are not dangerous ever, but some are, some of the time.

    • Charlie, disagreeing with the party line, what happened? Are you beginning to see the results of the Democratic Party ideology taken closer to its logical conclusion, and it scares you?! Just don’t try “if only the czar knew” excuses; the truth is that any totalitarian ideology, including the Democratic Party, seeks to control other human beings by any means necessary, including by creating an artificial chaos, which will subsequently serve as a justification for the total governmental control over all aspects of society.

    • OK but if it’s not easy for a mental health worker to deal with them, how do you expect laypeople to be able? There should be training in mental health for some police and then these agents should be deployed.

  3. Saying cops who will be going on mental health calls should be properly trained in handling emotionally disturbed people is common sense. Whether it’s Eleanor Bumpurs or Gideon Busch, a mentally ill person being gunned down by cops is a tragedy and everything possible should be done to prevent it. Not sending cops on calls where someone may be violent and/or a danger to themselves and others is madness.

  4. As a mental health worker I would never take such a job. Going into unknown homes in the middle of a crisis and not having armed backup? What about when someone claims it is mental health but the client is high on meth? Having worked with meth users myself, mental health workers cannot help them until the meth wears off. No amount of calming techniques, rationalizations, empathy etc can help. Meth addicts can act like extremely unstable paranoid schizophrenics.
    What if it is a domestic violence issue? Someone has a gun? If they take the worker hostage or threaten their life? No backup??

    This wont end well…take it from the professional.


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