2016-10-26 / Front Page

NYC First Lady Chirlane McCray Launches NYC WELL

By Joyce Vetere Milowski and Dan Miller

First Lady Chirlane McCray with mental health leaders unveiling new citywide initiative to provide mental health support services via phone, mobile devices and computers.
First Lady Chirlane McCray with mental health leaders unveiling new citywide initiative to provide mental health support services via phone, mobile devices and computers. New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray was joined more than a dozen mental health leaders and elected officials at a press conference on Monday October 24 held at Elmcor, a community support center in Corona, Queens to unveil a bold citywide initiative that provides a 24/7/365 connection to free, confidential mental health support to New Yorkers via this one phone call, one text or one chat system.
 
With the rise in mental health problems facing one in five New Yorkers the new program addresses the need to help New Yorkers facing life altering mental health and substance misuse through a system designed to help connect those in need to counseling, crisis intervention, peer support and referrals to ongoing treatment services in a simple use of technology involving a telephone, mobile device or computer.
 
The First Lady was joined by a number of leaders who are working hard to safeguard the First Lady Chirlane McCray launching new citywide mental health support program at Elmcor in Corona.
 Photos by Dan Miller/DMD IMAGESFirst Lady Chirlane McCray launching new citywide mental health support program at Elmcor in Corona. Photos by Dan Miller/DMD IMAGEShealth of New Yorkers. “I’d like to acknowledge Deputy Mayor Richard Buery; Dr. Maria Oquendo, head of the American Psychiatric Association; our very own, from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Commissioners Mary Bassett and Executive Deputy Commissioner Gary Belkin; Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland; Council Member Andrew Cohen; Assemblymember Aubry; Lianna Lee, Director of Behavioral Health Services right here at Elmcor; Reverend Gilbert Pickett from Mount Horeb Baptist Church; Lorinda Hooks, President of East Elmhurst-Corona Civic Association,” said McCray. “We also have Helen Arteaga, Founder and Director of Plaza del Sol Health Center in Corona; Linda MacDougal, our wonderful community leader from East Elmhurst; and Kim Williams, Vice President of Integrated Policy and Program Solutions of the Mental Health Association.”
 
“The needs of our citizens are great, and all the treatments and services available are useful only if people can find them. That’s why I’m so excited to announce the launch of NYC Well, a revolutionary new way for New Yorkers to connect to care. With NYC Well, confidential, and high-quality mental health support is just one click or one call away – no matter where you live and no matter how much money you make. NYC Well is accessible from any device and in more than 200 languages. And it’s available 365 days a year, 24/7,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray.
 
She added, “Would you like to talk to a trained professional, a trained mental health counselor on the phone? Just call 1-8-8-8-N-Y-C-W-E-L-L. Are you more comfortable texting? Just text the word, WELL, to 6-5-1-7-3. Would you prefer to chat with a counselor on a computer or a smartphone? Just go to nyc.gov/nycwell. Our team is always ready for you.”
 
The cost to taxpayers for this new program is $4.5 million while the current estimation is that the city loses $14 billion a year in productivity due to mental health and substance misuse and reports about 70,000 emergency room visits due to alcohol misuse alone.
“Mental health issues do not wait for anyone and many New Yorkers particularly young people, may lack the resources and support to get professional help,” said Council member Julissa Ferrras-Copeland.
 
 
During the press conference held on the basketball court of Elmcor a number of local volunteers held up signs such as, “Help is Available, So Anxious My Chest Hurts, I struggle With Addiction, I Live With Constant Grief, I’ve Lost All Motivation, Recovery is Possible, I Take Painkillers For More Than Pain and I Drink At Work.”
 
Core NYC Well services include:
1.     Crisis Counseling and Suicide Prevention
2.     Referral to Behavioral Health Services
3.     Mobile Crisis Teams
4.     Follow-up Services
5.     Short-term Counseling
6.     Peer Support
 
Elmcor began to provide human services in 1964 by a group of volunteers and has become
one of the largest non-profit community based service agencies in Queens.


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