First Lady Chirlane McCray Seeks to Fill Cracks in Mental Illness Care

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NYC first lady Chirlane McCray speaks on stage at Festival PEOPLE En Espanol 2015 presented by Verizon at Jacob Javitz Center on October 17, 2015 in New York City.

First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray and Gary Belkin, executive deputy commissioner of the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, discuss the use of Kendra’s Law and the treatment of the severely mentally ill in the city, in response to a previous guest’s claims that both issues are handled poorly by the city.

The First Lady said her ThriveNYC proposal, a sweeping plan to reform the city's mental health care system, attempts to address some of the grey areas in treating the mentally ill. Some of the elements of the plan, including mental health professionals accompanying police officers who respond to reports involving people with mental illness, should be implemented in the coming weeks, according to Commissioner Belkin. Belkin added that in the meantime, resources such as 1-800-LIFENET, which can deploy mobile crisis teams to help deal with the mentally ill, are currently available to the public.