Otago Daily Times

Mental health crisis teams planned


NEW YORK: Mental health and crisis workers in New York City, instead of law enforcemen­t officers, will respond to emergency mental health calls under a pilot programme announced yesterday after months of protests around the country over police brutality.

The programme, set to begin in February, will involve new mental health teams from the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services unit and will target two ‘‘highneed’’ neighbourh­oods, which were not identified.

‘‘For the first time in our city’s history, health responders will be the default responders for a person in crisis, making sure those struggling with mental illness receive the help they need,’’ Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a statement.

The move comes as New York and other large cities seek to reform their police department­s after the May death of George Floyd in police custody in Minneapoli­s and other incidents sparked nationwide protests. — Reuters

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