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NYC to involuntarily commit individuals suffering a 'mental health crisis' following repeated subway attacks

NYC Mayor Eric Adams (Photo by ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images)

In response to the relentlesstrendofterrifyingsubwayattacks in New York City, Mayor Eric Adams issued new guidance on Tuesday that allows the NYPD, fire department, and social workers to involuntarily commit people suffering from a "mental health crisis," the New York Post reported.

The order will grant city and state officials the ability to force anyone who appears to be struggling with mental health issues or who is unable to care for themselves into treatment, even if that individual does not pose a danger to the public.

"There is often a misconception amongst both police as well as front-line mental health crisis intervention workers that a person with mental illness must present as 'imminently dangerous' in order to be removed from the community," Adams stated on Tuesday. "This is not the case."

Adams hopes the new directive will encourage homeless individuals living on the street and in the subways to move into the city's shelters or mental health system.

"If severe mental illness is causing someone to be unsheltered and a danger to themselves, we have a moral obligation to help them get the treatment and care they need," the mayor said.

Before the Tuesday announcement from Adams, police officers, social workers, and mental health treatment teams were trained only to send individuals to court-ordered outpatient treatment if they posed a threat to the public. The mayor noted that city staff would be retrained under the new guidance.

"Today, we are embarking on a long-term strategy to help more of those suffering from severe and untreated mental illness find their way to treatment and recovery," Adams added.

The new directive will also set up a hotline for city staff in the field to connect with clinicians. The line will help staff determine if a person they have encountered should be brought into care.

Adams also announced that he would push for changes in the state law that would require more extensive mental health screenings at hospitals and lower the requirements to receive inpatient treatment.

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III stated that he believes public safety depends on adequate mental health services.

"For too long, public safety personnel's hands have been tied in getting those in need care before they hurt themselves or others," said Banks. "These directives and proposals are a common-sense way to clear those impediments and get help for those who need it most."

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