Posted on October 22, 2019
(Tuesday, October 22, 2019) – Fountain House President and CEO Ashwin Vasan, MD, PhD, responds to Mayor de Blasio’s 10/21 NYC Crisis Prevention and Response Task Force announcement:
"We applaud the city and Mayor for bringing leaders together to begin to change the nature of how we interact with people in crisis. When a person with a serious mental illness experiences a crisis, they need a therapeutic, non-punitive response that focuses on the immediate and underlying needs of the individual, and these recommendations propose steps toward that.
However, Fountain House recognizes that without adequate community supports, including strategies to support direct service organizations that will take on an increase in requests from the proposed “community based mental health safety net”, we cannot address the cycles of poverty, incarceration, rehospitalization, and homelessness experienced by so many with serious mental illness.
For more than 70 years, Fountain House has redirected the trajectories of thousands of people with serious mental illness by building community, engaging members in meaningful work and activity, reducing social isolation and addressing dominant social needs. Our approach not only recognizes the dignity and human capability of all of our members, but in turn, has resulted in reduced hospitalizations and a significant decrease in healthcare costs, higher education completion rates and employment rates, as well as lower rates of homelessness, incarceration, and recidivism.
We can no longer tolerate a world where emergency rooms, homeless shelters, and jails are our de facto solutions to people in crisis. These recommendations represent a first step in moving toward this future together.”