Embedded within today's New York Times article about the struggles to find hospital beds in New York City, I also saw a wonderful success story. Several years ago I met Steve Coe, who leads Community Access. At that time, I was the volunteer board chairman of a new foundation in mental health care and had the privilege to be an advisor amidst a group that Steve had convened around the dream of establishing several respite centers within New York City, which would function as an alternative to hospitalization for some of the City's most vulnerable people with mental illness. I was deeply impressed by his creativity and commitment, drawing new dialogical concepts from Sweden and Finland into mental health care in New York City.
Today's article in New York Times is concerning because of the diminishing number of psychiatric hospital beds, even while the need increases. At the same time I think of the dedication of Steve and his team and the fact that they have opened and are successfully operating four crisis respite centers. He and his team have skillfully woven public and philanthropic support into this success. I encourage readers to review the NYT article and also the Community Access website.
Additionally, this New York Times article offers some insight into the positive work of Thrive NYC. Unfortunately the article does not speak about the paucity of residential mental health services in New York City. This appears to remain an unacknowledged problem, one that creates great distress for all families who have a family member coping with a level of mental illness that cannot be sufficiently addressed by crisis and hospital services.