First responders in New York who operate in regions where crisis stabilization centers are located will receive crisis intervention training, including support for addiction treatment and for those who are facing a mental health crisis, under a law signed by Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The measure will use the crisis stabilization centers in New York, which are meant to be urgent care centers for people who are struggling with mental health or addiction issues. Hochul's administration in February previously announced $100 million in funding that would create 12 centers over the next five years.
Nine of the centers will be located outside of New York City in different regions of the state.
"I am proud to sign this legislation that will provide our brave first responders with the tools needed to assist New Yorkers who struggle with mental health and addiction," Hochul said. "The pandemic has only made things harder for New Yorkers, and it is critical that our first responders and emergency services personnel have the proper training, tools and resources to help keep our streets and subways safe."
The training will be made available to firefighters and emergency medical service personnel. Training will include administration of naloxone, mental health first aid and how to recognize implicit bias.
The law is part of a broader effort to respond to a growing mental health and addiction crisis. Overdose deaths have spiked to record levels in New York over the last year, coinciding with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health officials have warned the pandemic has contributed to a range of mental health and addiction problems. Deathy by suicide is now the 12th leading cause of death for people in New York and second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 34.
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, emergency responders have faced a drastic and overwhelming increase in calls related to mental health issues," said Assemblymember Matylde Frontus, who sponsored the legislation with Sen. James Sanders. "It is more critical than ever that EMS personnel have the proper crisis intervention training before responding to a mental health crisis. This legislation will help ensure our first responders have the training and skills needed to better assist New Yorkers during their time of need."