Expand access points for mental health and substance abuse care
Mental health concerns are widespread in New York City. Fifteen percent of New Yorkers reported having been diagnosed with depression, and 12 percent of the city’s adult population reported receiving some form of counseling or taking prescription medication for a mental health problem in the past year. In 2013, five percent of the New York City adult population experienced serious psychological distress (SPD), which is characterized by a range of symptoms commonly present in individuals with mental illness but are not specific to any particular disorder. Mental health issues are not distributed evenly across the City. New Yorkers with serious mental illness are overwhelmingly of low- and moderate-income, with 39 percent living below the federal poverty line. Mental health concerns are also much more prevalent among those with physical health issues.
There is significant unmet need for mental health treatment in the city. Twenty- three percent of New York City adults experiencing SPD reported they did not get all the mental health treatment they needed in the past year, as did 41 percent of New Yorkers with serious mental illness.