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NYC Launching New Low-Income Mental Health Program


Friday, July 31, 2015   

NEW YORK - Identifying and healing people with mental-health issues in low-income areas is the focus of a new program being launched in New York City. Called "Connections to Care," the program will train workers - such as teachers and job-placement counselors - to recognize symptoms of depression, anxiety, substance abuse and other mental-health problems, and offer help.

Wendy Brennan, executive director of the New York City branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, said the enormous stress of living in poverty makes access to mental-health services critical.

"Crime in their communities, domestic violence and poor housing only adds to the likelihood that there will be mental-health issues," she said.

The $30 million program will be a public-private partnership between the not-for-profit Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and the federal Corporation for National and Community Service. Connections to Care will seek contracts with about a dozen community-based service providers around the city and train their staff members to administer mental-health "first aid."

Brennan said giving the training to those who already work in the community makes sense.

"If they had the tools they needed to make recommendations for people in the community that might need mental-health service, that could be extremely useful," she said.

A spokesperson for the Mayor's Fund said the program is expected to be in operation by next spring.

More information is online at

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