Critical Condition

The Willful Failure of New York’s Mental Health Office

Instead of giving New York’s seriously mentally ill the treatment they need, the state Office of Mental Health is busying itself with the “mental-health issues” of ordinary folks. D. J. Jaffe explains over at City Journal:

The problem isn’t OMH’s budget, which has plenty of money; it’s how the agency spends it. OMH claims that 50 percent of New Yorkers, including everyone from struggling students to dissatisfied spouses, will have a diagnosable mental-health issue during their lifetimes. Under Commissioner Michael Hogan, OMH continues to spend its resources on these people, rather than on the 3 to 9 percent of New Yorkers who, the agency says, are the most severely impaired, suffering from genuinely serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. . . .

One reason to be concerned about OMH’s skewed priorities: studies show that when the truly ill receive treatment, they are no more violent than the general population, but when treatment is lacking, their violence rises. Currently, there are twice as many mentally ill people in prison on Riker’s Island as in all OMH-run psychiatric hospitals combined.

Read the whole thing here.

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