City & State’s Webinar Series: New York’s Other Crisis During Coronavirus Pandemic: Mental Health

Event Description

Whether it’s loneliness, grief, depression, or even panic attacks that mimic the symptoms of the disease itself, the coronavirus has placed a substantial mental burden on New Yorkers, creating a second major public health crisis alongside the deadly pandemic. The issue is also a national one, and the $2 trillion stimulus package passed in March included $425 million for mental health and substance-use disorder programs, as well as $50 million for suicide-prevention programs nationwide.  How can New Yorkers be helped?  What services are being offered?

Click play on the video below to watch the webinar.

Susan Herman, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director
In February 2019, Susan Herman was named Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of ThriveNYC to lead the newly created Mayor’s Office of ThriveNYC. ThriveNYC is an unprecedented citywide commitment to tackle critical gaps in the mental health system to ensure mental health for all New Yorkers. ThriveNYC programs create a broader understanding of mental health, develop new pathways to care, close treatment gaps, and implement community-based mental health solutions. ThriveNYC is re-imagining the way the City approaches mental health by integrating it across City agencies and creating strategic partnerships with entities outside of City government. All of ThriveNYC’s work prioritizes equity and inclusion and builds the evidence base for innovation. Prior to joining the Mayor’s office, from January 2014 to February 2019, Herman served as Deputy Commissioner, Collaborative Policing in the New York City Police Department. Her role was to foster shared responsibility for public safety through productive partnerships with individuals, government agencies, and community-based organizations. The Office of Collaborative Policing concentrated on developing more nonenforcement options for police officers, designing creative and focused enforcement strategies, and improving access to police services. A member of the NYPD from 1985 to 1990, Herman served as the Special Counsel to the Police Commissioner to three consecutive Police Commissioners. Herman previously served as Director of Community Services at The Enterprise Foundation, one of the nation’s largest developers of affordable housing, where she led community-based initiatives on safety, employment, and access to social services; Director of the Domestic Violence Division of Victim Services (now Safe Horizon) in New York City where she managed services for people experiencing domestic violence including emergency, transitional, and permanent housing, and the police precinct-based Domestic Violence Prevention Project; Director of Mediation Services at the Institute for Mediation and Conflict Resolution; as an attorney at the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund (now Legal Momentum); and as an instructor at New York University’s School of Law and NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service. Herman also served as the Executive Director of the National Center for Victims of Crime, the nation’s leading resource and advocacy organization for crime victims. In that capacity, she created the Teen Victim Project, the Stalking Resource Center, a national model for housing intimidated victims and witnesses, and the Critical Choices Forums for victims of 9/11. Immediately prior to returning to the Police Department in 2014, Herman was an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at Pace University, teaching a wide range of courses including Criminal Law, Integrity Issues in Criminal Justice, Crime and Public Policy, and Creative Crime Control. A recipient of the United States Attorney General’s National Crime Victim Service Award, Herman is known for her new vision of justice set forth in her book Parallel Justice for Victims of Crime. Herman holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Bryn Mawr College and a Juris Doctorate from the Antioch School of Law.
Council Member Diana Ayala
Chair, Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction
Diana Ayala has worked for nearly two decades serving the people of the 8th District in social service agencies and government, and is a passionate advocate on issues including housing, gun violence, and senior services. Diana was born in Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico, and moved to New York City with her family as a child. Growing up in public housing after a time in the shelter system, she experienced numerous challenges that would help give her a unique voice and perspective in government and politics, and drive her passion for public service. As a teenage mom-to-be, the father of Diana’s son was shot and killed in a senseless shooting, after which she returned to shelter. She later entered into a new relationship that proved abusive. In the face of these challenges, she found the personal strength to start her life over, enrolling in school and receiving her associate’s degree in Human Services from Bronx Community College. She worked as a senior center director in East Harlem for seven years, and later joined the team for Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito as Constituent Services Director, ultimately becoming Deputy Chief of Staff. In that capacity, Diana was instrumental in crafting legislation that became law, from expanding tenants’ rights to cracking down on the sale of synthetic marijuana (K2). Diana has worked hand-in-hand with constituents to address issues ranging from housing, homelessness, mental health, schools, immigration, and gun violence. She is a partner with the people, and a strong voice and aggressive champion for what she believes in. Diana lives in East Harlem with her life partner, Frankie. She has four children and three grandchildren, and also lives with two rescued dogs and three cats.
Commissioner Ann Marie T. Sullivan
NYS Office of Mental Health
Dr. Ann Marie Sullivan was confirmed by the New York State Senate as Commissioner for the New York State Office of Mental Health on June 20, 2014. New York State has a large, multi-faceted mental health system that serves more than 700,000 individuals each year. The Office of Mental Health (OMH) operates psychiatric centers across the State, and also oversees more than 4,500 community programs, including inpatient and outpatient programs, emergency, community support, residential and family care programs. As Commissioner, she has guided the transformation of the state hospital system in its emphasis on recovery and expansion of community based treatment, reinvesting over 60 million dollars in community services. Working closely with all mental health providers and health plans, she is responsible for the movement of the health benefit for the seriously mentally ill into managed care beginning October 2015. This new Health and Recovery Plan (HARP) benefit will embed in the Medicaid benefit critical recovery services such as crisis respite, peer, educational and employment supports. She has also been instrumental in expanding services for the mentally ill in prisons and in expanding the much needed community based continuum of care for the seriously mentally ill leaving prison and returning to their community.
Amy Dorin, LCSW, President & CEO
The Coalition for Behavioral Health
Amy Dorin, LCSW, has a 35 year career in the health and human service arena, working in government, hospitals, and in complex not-for-profit organizations as a clinician, administrator, executive and consultant. Ms. Dorin is currently the President & CEO of The Coalition for Behavioral Health, the umbrella organization for New York, providing advocacy and workforce training for over 100 community-based behavioral health providers in the NY metropolitan area. She was previously the Senior Vice President for Community Behavioral Health & Residential Services at FEGS Health & Human Services, where she was responsible for an $80 million operating budget and a diverse staff of 800. Ms. Dorin was Deputy Director for Health & Human Services for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Operations in the Koch administration. She is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.
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