Legislation sponsored by Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus (D-Brooklyn) to ensure firefighters and emergency medical services (EMS) personnel receive up-to-date training in crisis intervention and mental health first aid today passed the Assembly (A.7686).
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, city health officials have reported an overwhelming increase in calls related to mental health issues,” Assemblymember Frontus said. “If EMS personnel do not receive proper crisis intervention training before responding to a mental health crisis, the consequences can be devastating for both the EMS workers and the distressed individual. This legislation is critical to ensuring our first responders have the skills they need to address mental health crises and provide New Yorkers with the help they need.”
Nearly one in every 25 New Yorkers live with a serious mental illness, with around 280,000 adults dealing with diagnoses like major depressive disorder or schizophrenia. According to NYC Well, the city’s 24/7 mental health hotline, their organization has received over 300,000 calls related to mental health issues since the beginning of the pandemic. In 2021, the city introduced a series of measures designed to combat serious mental illness, such as creating new Intensive Mobile Treatment teams and expanding the capacity of “clubhouse” mental health support groups. With the increasing demand for mental health crisis services, this bill will ensure all emergency personnel are well-equipped to respond to New Yorkers in need.