- New York City last week launched the Office of ThriveNYC, an expansion of the three-year-old ThriveNYC mental health initiative that was spearheaded by Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife, Chirlane McCray.
- The office will advance a "mental health in all policies" approach to governing and strive to integrate Thrive mental health policies and programs into all of the city's agencies. It will continue working toward new ways to provide mental health services that are currently missing from communities, especially underserved areas.
- "The need for stronger and more innovative mental health services has never been more necessary than now as awareness is at an all-time high, which is why strengthening ThriveNYC is so important to residents throughout the City," Council Member Donovan Richards, chair of the Committee on Public Safety, said in a statement.
McCray launched ThriveNYC in 2015 as a concept that would improve the city's mental health services through innovation and action. It called for an investment of $850 million over four years and has included more than 50 projects spread out across nearly two dozen city departments and agencies.
Main goals of ThriveNYC have included bringing mental health resources to citizens in all of the five boroughs and reducing the stigma related to mental illness and health care that often prevents people from seeking help. While this can be achieved to a certain extent through individual programs, there was reportedly a lack of unity and strong cohesion among the initiatives prior to establishing the Office of ThriveNYC. De Blasio named Susan Herman, Deputy Commissioner at the New York Police Department (NYPD), as Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Office of ThriveNYC, to oversee all of the Thrive initiatives and their integration into other city agencies.
Some believe the Thrive programs do not go far enough and lack adequate resources for people with severe mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, who could most benefit from assistive services. Creating an office to oversee all of the Thrive efforts has the potential to bring in additional funding and facilitate greater expansion into such areas.