The inaugural HOPE in Harlem Conference is taking place on Saturday May 13th. The purpose of the conference is to celebrate the heroic efforts of mental health professionals and community members during the pandemic and shed light on mental health equity.
The conference will be followed by a Wellness Fair with resources, face painting for children, and other wellness initiatives.
Tricia Hersey, founder of the Nap Ministry and NY Times Best-selling author is our keynote speaker.
OMH Commissioner Ann Sullivan is a featured speaker.
U.S.Congressman Ritchie Torres is just confirmed to speak and share his wellness journey.
The cover has teasers for the stories inside including the children of famous people:
A look at Billy Eckstine:
And Harlem, the Most Slandered City:
5th and 126th
The building on the north-west corner of 126th and 5th Avenue was opened in 1938:
and was the first new building in Harlem that welcomed African Americans. The beautiful interior and fixtures made this building a classic of the pre-War period. Until this building’s construction, African-American residents in Harlem had only lived in buildings that were formerly occupied by white residents or in buildings that had been intended for white residents.
Ms. Hill, one of the original tenants noted that the neighborhood was mostly Finnish at the time. She also noted that the solid, if quiet opulence attracted a number of celebrities to this building: the singers Billy Eckstine and Juanita Hall, for example, soon moved in.
Before this apartment building was built, a gorgeous Victorian mansion stood on the corner of 126th and 5th
This beautiful mansion had been used as the Mary E. Johnson Boarding School for Colored Children. (You probably recognize the sliver of the church to the north of the boarding school that exists today.)
However, before that, it was the Mrs. Helen M. Scofille’s School for Girls (presumably, white only), and before that an ivy-covered mansion, now long gone.
All New Yorkers know 311 and 911 are the numbers to call for issues (311) and emergencies (911). But, starting today, dialing 988 will connect you to a combined mental health, suicide prevention and substance use disorder response team. This new 988 number is part of a nationwide initiative to better address those needs without always involving the police.
Calls to 988 from local area codes will route to NYC Well, a 24/7 hotline, chat and text service where mental health professionals provide support and offer referrals for treatments and resources. If needed, the hotline staff can dispatch a Mobile Crisis Team, which includes mental health professionals, to an urgent but “non-emergency” situation. But those units only go out between 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
988 is intended to address issues that are not criminal justice issues, but still require professional assistance.
Anyone can call 988 and a person from NYC Well, operated by Vibrant Emotional Health, will answer the call, listen to concerns and provide guidance about how to handle the situation, share resources or possibly dispatch members of the Mobile Crisis Unit — when available.
On scene, a counselor may speak to a person from the other side of the bedroom door, for example, or help them go to a clinic safely, and the team members may also stay in touch with a caller or concerned friend or family member for a period of time after the crisis to make sure they’re getting the support they need.
A huge hitch with this roll-out of 988 is phone technical – people who live in New York City and use cellphones that don’t have a local area code will not be routed to NYC Well, but to the local hotline as the area code indicates.
That means if you got your phone in Idaho, your 988 call is going to a mental health team in Boise…
Let’s hope they get this rediculous situation sorted out, but if you call 911, you can always stress this is a mental health crisis, and the operators will connect you to 988 resources.
The Studio Museum Rises
The Studio Museum of Harlem has now risen far beyond its neighbors. Admittedly the number of floors is low (because much of the space is for displaying/storing art), but the building is soaring above 125th Street between Lenox and ACP.
About the Film: Wax Print traces the vast and multi-stranded global history of a fabric that has become an iconic symbol of Africa and her children worldwide. This beautiful, transnational two-year journey has taken director Aiwan Obinyan around the world, in search of African wax prints and the untold story of how wax print fabric came to symbolize a continent, its people, and their struggle for freedom. The film brings forth issues of fast fashion and mass-produced wax print copies, while detailing an Indonesian, English, and Dutch history of the fabric itself and its significance for pan-African identities. As seen in Batik and Kente techniques, bright bold patterns and colors become a significant part of the culture, as well as the identities of the African diaspora that have kept the heritage alive. With names like “The Ungrateful Husband,” which is worn by women to shame their disloyal husbands, each wax print has a pattern and identity embodied in the cloth, and an origin story that is then accepted and integrated into the culture by consumers.
On June 6, 2021, New York City launched a pilot program in which both mental and physical health professionals are responding to 911 mental health emergency calls. This new approach, called B-HEARD – the Behavioral Health Emergency Assistance Response Division attempts to treat mental health crises as public health problems, not public safety issues
B-HEARD teams include emergency medical technicians/paramedics from the Fire Department’s Emergency Medical Services and social workers from NYC Health + Hospitals. Teams operate seven days a week, 16 hours a day in the 25, 28, and 32 police precincts in East Harlem and parts of central and north Harlem.
In 2020, there were approximately 8,400 mental health 911 calls in this area (Zone 7), the highest volume of any dispatch zone in the city.
The goals of the B-HEARD pilot are to:
Route 911 mental health calls to a health-centered B-HEARD response whenever it is appropriate to do so. Calls that involve a weapon, an imminent risk of harm, or where NYPD or EMS call-takers know that an individual has an immediate need for a transport to a medical facility will continue to receive a traditional 911 response—an ambulance and police officers.
Increase connection to community-based care, reduce unnecessary transports to hospitals, and reduce unnecessary use of police resources. Before B-HEARD, mental healthcare was not delivered in communities during an emergency. Instead, emergency medical technicians/paramedics provided basic medical assistance in the field and transported those who needed mental healthcare to a hospital. Now, with B-HEARD social workers delivering care on site, emergency mental healthcare is reaching people in their homes or in public spaces for the first time in New York City’s history.
The text above is cribbed from the promotional material of BHeard that you can read (in full) here:
What is interesting is that the rosy picture in the 2nd half of the press release on how successful BHeard has been, is sharply contrasted with the careful analysis found in the Gothamist where they note that the data indicates that:
During the first three months of its operation between early June and late August, 1,478 emergency mental health calls were made to 911 operators in the areas serviced by the program. Only 23% of those calls — 342 incidents — were routed to B-HEARD teams. The rest of the mental health crises were initially shared with traditional response teams involving the cops. In both cases, emergency medical technicians or paramedics were dispatched as well.
On top of that, B-HEARD was often under-resourced and didn’t have enough personnel to handle all of the emergencies shared by 911 operators. The program had to redirect 17% of calls back to the police.
The city touted a new initiative to divert mental health crisis incidents to an East Harlem Diversion Center on East 116th Street as far back as 2014. By 2018, when Project Renewal acquired a lease for the new facility, the city committed to investing $9.5 million annually to serve about 2,400 people each year at the centers.
The centers were to be open at all hours and staff will not be allowed to turn away anybody brought in by police. At the same time, people brought to the centers must consent to receive services such as health care and social services. The centers would not be used as homeless shelters and the maximum stay allowed is 10 days depending on a person’s needs.
According to The City, Mayor de Blasio last week quietly changed the name of ThriveNYC — the heavily criticized $1 billion mental health program spearheaded by the city’s first lady, Chirlane McCray — to the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health. The City also reports that the Diversion Center on 116th Street has served only 45 people since finally opening in November — coming out to $1.1 million per visit so far.
Join the Voter Awareness March in Harlem on Saturday, May 8th at 2:00 PM.
March from the Adam Clayton Powell State Building (ACP+125) to the Frederick Douglass Monument (FDB+110)
Mental Health Awareness Rally
Join mental health experts, local leaders, political candidates, and advocates for mental health support for all at a rally at City Hall on May 7th. Then, on May 8th, stop by Marcus Garvey Park for giveaways, information, and referrals for you or a loved-one. Details on the poster, below:
Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders for Change is committed to bringing different racial and ethnic backgrounds together to stand firmly against all forms of hatred and discrimination through civic engagement and open discussions.
Join us for the AAPI for Change tri-state rally against AAPI violence! Get on the bus and travel with us to stand up for change. All are welcome. Masks and social distancing required.
3 separate rallies at City Hall in the following cities:
9:00 am Philadelphia, PA
12:00 pm Trenton, NJ
4:00 pm New York, NY
As each coach bus fills up, we will continue adding more. Lunch, snacks & water will be provided.
All participants will be required to participate in a temperature screening upon arrival and wear a mask while on the bus, even if you are vaccinated. If you are under the weather, please stay home.