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?
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.