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mayor first mccray

To the editor:

Last week, I joined the final day of training for the new teams who will soon begin responding to 911 mental health calls in East Harlem and Harlem. Through this pilot program – the Behavioral Emergency Response Assistance Division or B-HEARD – mental health professionals will be part of 911 response for the first time in New York City history. It’s part of our commitment as a city to treat mental health crises as issues of public health, not public safety.

As we planned our pilot, we consulted with many practitioners and advocates around the city and country, including Correct Crisis Intervention Today in NYC (CCIT-NYC). We looked at health-centered responses in places like Denver, San Francisco, Harris County, and Toronto, as well as the long-running CAHOOTS program in Eugene, Oregon, to develop our model: small teams of emergency medical technicians/paramedics and behavioral health clinicians responding to non-violent mental health calls that come through the 911 system…