NYC Mayor’s Disastrous Plan to Involuntarily Commit People with Psychiatric Disabilities

December 1, 2022
NYC Mayor’s Disastrous Plan to Involuntarily Commit People with Psychiatric Disabilities

For Immediate Release:

David Card
202.408.9514 x122
[email protected]

Washington, DC – For people with mental health conditions, New York City is no longer a safe home. Yesterday, Mayor Eric Adams announced that police officers and “outreach workers” will begin rounding up people with psychiatric disabilities and involuntarily hospitalizing them if they are thought to be unable to meet their fundamental needs. 

“Mayor Adams is endangering the lives of New Yorkers with this short-sighted and cruel decision,” said Marlene Sallo, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). “We know that people with a mental health diagnosis, especially BIPOC community members, face a greater risk of being physically harmed or worse during interactions with police. Mayor Adam’s approach to involuntarily hospitalize unhoused individuals with a mental health diagnosis fails to address the chronic lack of housing and the ongoing need to invest in community-based supports and services that we know work. 

“For decades, individuals with mental health diagnoses were locked up, isolated, abused, neglected, or even killed in institutions where they received little to no treatment or protections. In NYC, we saw the horrors imposed on thousands of individuals hospitalized at Willowbrook. It seems that Mayor Adams wants to return to those awful days.” 

Tim Clune, executive director of Disability Rights New York, a member agency of NDRN said: “There is nothing compassionate about being forced into a police car or ambulance. There is nothing compassionate about being locked up in a hospital. There is nothing compassionate about being involuntarily medicated. This is the antithesis of compassion. The Mayor is unleashing a systematic governmental attack on people who have a mental health diagnosis. Not surprising, given that this is the Mayor who said closing Willowbrook was a mistake.” 

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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.