New York City Council Header
File #: Res 1002-2019    Version: * Name: Adds a gravely disabled standard to the civil commitment law.
Type: Resolution Status: Committee
Committee: Committee on Mental Health, Disabilities and Addiction
On agenda: 7/23/2019
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation that adds a gravely disabled standard to the civil commitment law.
Sponsors: Robert F. Holden
Council Member Sponsors: 1
Attachments: 1. Res. No. 1002, 2. July 23, 2019 - Stated Meeting Agenda with Links to Files, 3. Hearing Transcript - Stated Meeting 7-23-19, 4. Minutes of the Stated Meeting - July 23, 2019

Res. No. 1002

 

Resolution calling upon the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation that adds a gravely disabled standard to the civil commitment law.

 

By Council Member Holden

 

Whereas, Every state has civil commitment laws that establish criteria for determining when involuntary treatment for individuals with severe mental health needs who cannot seek care voluntarily is necessary; and

Whereas, New York State has such standards that include the use of court ordered treatment known as Assisted Outpatient Treatment or (AOT), which 47 states and Washington, DC have adopted, and such laws have led to a reduction in hospitalization, arrest, incarceration, homelessness and violence related to mental illness; and

Whereas, According to a 2017 count by the National Institute of Mental Health and Census Bureau, in New York State, there are approximately 173,000 and 345,000 adults with schizophrenia and severe bipolar disorder, respectively, which are deemed severe mental health illnesses; and

Whereas, The Treatment Advocacy Center, a national organization dedicated to removing barriers to effective severe mental health treatment, espouses a standard of a minimum of 50 public psychiatric beds per 100,000 people in order for states to adequately meet the need for treatment; and

Whereas, State psychiatric facilities in New York City lost 15 percent of their total bed capacity for adults between 2014 and 2018, and yet between 2015 and 2017, the number of severely mentally ill homeless people in the city increased by over 20 percent; and

Whereas, New York State lost 1,742 beds between 2010 and 2016, with 16.3 beds per 100,000 people, which is far below the minimum standard in order to adequately address the need for severe mental health treatment; and

Whereas, In 1969, California enacted the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act or LPS Act, which established a standard for mental health commitment due to an individual being either an imminent danger or due to “grave disability,” in which a person is unable to meet their basic needs in order to survive, and the LPS Act served as a model for others states in crafting civil commitment laws; and

Whereas, “grave disability” is generally defined as an individual’s inability to provide themselves with personal basic needs such as food, clothing or shelter, with some states, such as Alaska, using a definition that also encompasses a standard of the disability being so severe as to cause a substantial risk that the individual will experience harm, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; and

Whereas, New York State’s current standard for the involuntarily commitment of an individual is of they are deemed in need of inpatient psychiatric treatment by physicians, are unable to make the determination of need for themselves and present a threat of harm or a danger to themselves and others; and

Whereas, New York is one of four states along with Washington, DC that has failed to incorporate a grave disability standard into its standards for civil commitment of those with mental illnesses and the Treatment Advocacy Center urgently calls for the standard to be adopted into state law; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the Council of the City of New York calls on the New York State Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign, legislation that adds a gravely disabled standard to the civil commitment law.

 

 

N.O

7/1/19

LS #10656