The New Bronx Clinic offers “immediate” mental health services

A short-term treatment center that opened in the Bronx on Wednesday will give New Yorkers with mental health and substance abuse problems “immediate” access to services, Mayor Eric Adams said.

For decades, the city has relied on NYPD officers to respond to mental health crises — and offered few alternatives to emergency rooms for people in crisis seeking help, Adams said at a news conference Wednesday morning.

The new Bronx Support and Connection Center at 3050 White Plains Rd., near the Gun Hill Houses in the Bronx, will support the city’s efforts to shift its crisis response efforts away from those roads, the mayor said.


what you should Know

  • A new clinic, the Bronx Support and Connection Center, will give New Yorkers with mental health and substance abuse issues “immediate” access to services, Mayor Eric Adams said
  • The center will support the city’s efforts to shift its crisis response efforts away from the NYPD, Adams said
  • The new facility will offer “robust clinical services” through the nonprofit Samaritan Daytop Village, including primary and psychiatric care, counseling, health screenings and withdrawal treatment
  • The site also has on-site showers, laundry facilities and access to food

“The answer to mental health crises is not the answer to public safety. It is a response to health,” he said. “And changing that dynamic is critical.”

“The mental health crisis is not a crime,” he added. “It is a crime not to provide people with the services they need when they are going through a mental health crisis.”

The new facility will offer “robust clinical services” through the nonprofit Samaritan Daytop Village, including primary and psychiatric care, counseling, health screenings and withdrawal treatment, Adams said in a news release.

The center, which will serve as a “sister site” to the East Harlem Support and Connection Center at 179 E. 116th St., has on-site showers, laundry facilities and access to food, the release said. Visitors will be able to stay there from “hours to days, depending on the needs of the community member,” the release noted.

The NYPD has come under fire repeatedly for its handling of calls reporting people experiencing mental health crises. Deborah Danner and Kawasky Trawick were among those fatally shot by police during incidents their families say were simply cries for help.

Last year, the city introduced a pilot program in Harlem known as B-HEARD — short for Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division — that it says will provide a “healthy response to 911 mental health calls.”

As part of the program, “B-HEARD teams,” including emergency physicians, paramedics and mental health specialists at NYC Health + Hospitals, began responding to some 911 calls.

The Adams administration earlier this year said it would expand the program to the South Bronx as well as Washington Heights.

The new Bronx clinic aims to bolster the city’s ongoing efforts by serving patients referred to it by B-HEARD teams, city Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said at the briefing.

He would also welcome visits, Vasan said.

“Ultimately, we want to take people who are directly referred and brought here as an alternative to other carceral or other destinations,” he explained. “But we also want people to feel like they can just walk through the front door and get help when they need it.”

The Bronx has “one of the highest psychiatric hospitalization rates in the city,” in addition to a high volume of 911 calls reporting mental health crises, Vasan said.

Adams on Wednesday noted that “the crisis doesn’t affect your meeting.”

“Crises don’t wait and say, ‘Listen, I want to hit you on Monday at 3 o’clock.’ No, it hits you,” he said. “You need to be able to have somewhere to go when this crisis hits you.”

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