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Amid homeless crisis, New York to step up forced hospitalization of mentally ill By Reuters


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man sleeps on a cardboard box along 34th street near Pennsylvania Station in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2022. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton/File Photo


(Reuters) – New York City Mayor Eric Adams rolled out a plan on Tuesday to allow more homeless and mentally ill people to be hospitalized against their will in order to tackle “a crisis we see all around us.”

Speaking from City Hall, Adams said the city had a “moral obligation” to help New Yorkers struggling to meet their own basic needs because of mental illness, even if those people resisted intervention.

The Democratic mayor has made addressing the city’s homelessness crisis a priority for his administration since taking office earlier this year.

“We can no longer deny the reality that untreated psychosis can be a cruel and all-consuming condition that often requires involuntary intervention, supervised medical treatment and long-term care,” Adams said.

“We will continue to do all we can to sway those in need of help to accept services voluntarily, but we will not abandon them,” he added.

New York law allows for involuntary hospitalization when a person’s mental illness prevents them from providing for their own basic needs, as well as when they present a danger to themselves or others.

But law enforcement has not commonly used the practice.

The city published updated guidance on Tuesday on its standard for involuntary hospitalizations, and Adams said the city would immediately provide training for emergency personnel, hospital staff and other outreach workers on how to provide “compassionate care” while removing someone from the streets who is undergoing a mental health crisis.

He said there would be a telephone line for police officers to get in touch directly with clinicians for consultation while dealing with cases of mental illness.

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