Improving Access to Mental Health Care in New York City
Certain public health challenges are more prominent in certain cities and regions, and it’s important for public health professionals to recognize which issues correspond to which areas and communities. One of the most prevalent public health issues in New York City is its residents’ access to mental health care services.
Studies show that nearly 40 percent of adults in New York, NY, who had been previously diagnosed with serious mental illness did not receive mental health treatment in 2015. Furthermore, the percentage of people with mental illness who were incarcerated in NYC jails increased by 30 percent from 2010 to 2014.
New York City has taken significant action to improve access to mental health care through initiatives like Thrive NYC and NYC Well. These programs are working to provide care to all residents and educate the public on the importance of mental health care services.
How Can We Improve Public Health in Cities Like NYC?
To combat these mental health trends, there has been a movement to elevate the importance of mental health care through expanded parity, which means that health plans must put mental health and substance abuse treatment on equal terms with other medical health care services. The American Public Health Association (APHA) supports parity as a step toward improving public health care and treatment options.
In order to achieve parity in coverage and access to mental health care in Manhattan and across the U.S., public health policymakers are needed on the state and federal levels to support stricter enforcement of parity laws and implement corresponding programs and policies.
The online MPH program from GW trains aspiring public health professionals to be well versed in the importance of mental health and substance abuse care.