What do the following TV serials have in common?
I love Lucy.
Mad about you
Will and Grace
Sex and the City
All very popular. All featuring happy, funny, quirky characters. All based in New York City.
It seems NYC is not such a happy place after all.
– At least one in five adult New Yorkers is likely to experience a mental health disorder in any given year.
– 8% of NYC public high school students report attempting suicide.
– Consequences of substance misuse are among the leading causes of premature death in every neighbourhood in New York City
– Each year, 1,800 deaths and upwards of 70,000 emergency room visits among adults aged 18 to 64 can be attributed to alcohol use.
– 73,000 New York City public high school students report feeling sad or hopeless each month
– Approximately 8% of adult New Yorkers experience symptoms of depression each year
– Major depressive disorder is the single greatest source of disability in NYC
– At any given time over half a million adult New Yorkers are estimated to have depression, yet less than 40% report receiving care for it.
– There are $14 billion in estimated annual productivity losses in New York City tied to depression and substance misuse.
– Unintentional drug overdose deaths outnumber both homicide and motor vehicle fatalities.
– The stigma of mental illness has been found to have serious negative effects on hope and an individual’s sense of self-esteem. Stigma also increases the severity of psychiatric symptoms and decreases treatment adherence.
The First lady of NYC, Ms Chirlane McCray recognised this as matter of public health in crisis and launched a bold initiative last year in order to tackle it. It cost nearly a billion dollars. It is called Thrive NYC (http://www1.nyc.gov/assets/home/downloads/pdf/press-releases/2015/thriveNYC_white_paper.pdf). It relies heavily on peer counsellors, who are not mental health professionals but are already entrenched in underserved communities. One of its main objectives is to address the stigma associated with mental illness. The plan is aggressively ambitious, attempting to make life easier for New Yorkers in every community and of every age.
I hear the Mayoral office in London is making plans of a similar nature. Can’t wait to hear more. It’s about time!