Category: Health

New York City Initiative Aims to Help Mentally Ill People Who Get Violent

Advocates for homeless people praised the initiative but maintained that permanent housing should be addressed as well. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times
Advocates for homeless people praised the initiative but maintained that permanent housing should be addressed as well. Credit Michael Appleton for The New York Times

Mental health experts will fan out to New York City’s homeless shelters, into the streets and to other places to treat mentally ill people who exhibit violent behavior, as part of an initiative announced on Thursday by Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The mayor said the goal of NYC Safe, a $22 million mental health initiative, was to aggressively reach mentally ill people prone to hurting themselves or others. Various agencies, including the Department of Homeless Services and the New York Police Department, will share information with one another about those people to make sure they are being treated, city officials said. About $5 million of the funding will go toward increasing security around and inside some homeless shelters.

The initiative follows the killing of a Bronx shelter director by a former resident in April, as well as various tabloid stories about vagrants harassing or offending passers-by. The episodes, coupled with a public perception that homelessness is worsening, have beenproblematic for Mr. de Blasio, as he struggles to assure the public that the city remains safe while also trying to destigmatize mental illness.

Mr. de Blasio said the news media was portraying the initiative as a program for homeless people, but he said it was more about helping people with serious mental illness.

“They are a concern to all of us whether they live in an apartment building, a private home, in a shelter or on the street,” he said. “The bottom line here is that treatment saves lives. The absence of treatment puts lives in danger. Sometimes it’s the life of the individual themselves; sometimes it’s the life of others.”

The initiative involves creating teams of clinicians, police officers, peace officers and other professionals to help groups of people who have untreated mental illnesses. For example, there will be three “intensive mobile treatment teams” to reach a core of about 75 people who are in and out of jail and in danger of becoming homeless. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene will have a team that monitors the treatment received.

Legionnaires’ Disease Death Toll in Bronx Climbs to 7

A town-hall-style meeting on the outbreak of Legionnaires' disease was held at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Monday. Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
A town-hall-style meeting on the outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease was held at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Monday. Credit Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times

An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in the South Bronx has claimed three more lives, bringing the death toll to seven, New York City officials said on Monday amid calls for tighter regulation of water-cooling towers, which are thought to be the origin of the illness.

What We Know

    • Seven people have died, and 81 have fallen ill. The victims were older adults with underlying medical problems.
    • The source of the airborne illness, a form of pneumonia, is water-cooling towers contaminated with legionella bacteria that release water droplets into the air.
    • The number of cases of the disease tripled in the last decade in New York City, with many of them concentrated in high-poverty areas, mirroring anationwide surge of the disease. The fatality rate is 5 to 30 percent.
    • The city does not regularly inspect cooling towers, though building owners are expected to maintain them.
    • Drinking water, fountains, pools and home air-conditioner units are unaffected by legionella.

What We Don’t Know

  • Which of the five cooling towers in the South Bronx that tested positive for legionella is responsible for the outbreak.
  • The details of legislation proposed this week that would mandate maintenance checks of systems conducive to legionella development.
  • Why the cases of the disease have steadily increased. Possible causes include demographic shifts, improved diagnoses, and changes in the environment.

Of the 17 cooling towers officials examined in the South Bronx, five — including towers at the Opera House Hotel and the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center — tested positive for the legionella bacteria, which can sicken people who inhale water droplets released from such towers. Though the five towers have since been decontaminated, the pollution has raised questions about measures in place to protect the city’s water systems.

The Bronx borough president, Ruben Diaz Jr., said that while the city responded swiftly and broadly once contamination was reported, he was shocked to discover a lack of measures in place for preventive monitoring of the towers. “Why, instead of doing a good job responding, don’t we do a good job proactively inspecting?” Mr. Diaz said.

Mr. Diaz was among several elected officials at a town-hall-style meeting at the Bronx Museum of the Arts on Monday night who advocated increased testing and maintenance of cooling towers.

“…el ‘hambre emocional’ –o la necesidad de consumir alimentos guiados por las emociones– afecta so...

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Rosalia Draletti escribe:

Según el informe –que incluyó a 481 personas de distintas edades y contexturas físicas–, aquellas que manifiestan comer de más al estar tristes o enojadas presentan índices de masa corporal mayores a los que no lo hacen. También el tipo de alimentos a los que recurren varía según el género: mientras los varones prefieren los alimentos salados, las mujeres se inclinan por lo dulce.

Sin solución. Desde la psicología, la relación que se tuvo con la comida desde la infancia puede ser clave para entender el comportamiento al llegar a la adultez. “La alimentación es el primer contacto afectivo que tiene el ser humano desde la lactancia. Si cuando un bebé llora, lo único en que se piensa es que tiene hambre y se lo alimenta, es posible que esa persona cada vez que tenga una situación emocional complicada, crea que tenga hambre y la canalice con comida”, sostiene María Teresa Calabrese, psiquiatra y psicóloga de la Asociación Psicoanalítica Argentina.


Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to speak Sunday afternoon at the inaugural NYC Disability Pride Parade.

The parade route begins at Manhattan’s Madison Square Park and continues along Broadway to Union Square Park.

July is designated as “Disability Pride Month” in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act that aims to guarantee equal opportunities and rights for people with disabilities.

The city has planned a monthlong series of events relating to New Yorkers with disabilities. That includes an exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society titled “Gaining Access: The New York City Disability Rights Movement.”