NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City is launching a new mental health treatment model in an effort to bridge the gaps in the mental health care system.
Continuous Engagement between Community and Clinic Treatment or CONNECT is a pilot program for now.
It will be launched at nine clinic sites in high-need areas throughout The Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn. They are currently accepting referrals.
Once at full scale, CONNECT will serve up to 900 new clients and will broaden the spectrum of services for everyone who receives mental health services at the clinics.
"New Yorkers struggling with their mental health deserve compassion and support - which is exactly what CONNECT provides," New York City Mayor Eric Adams said. "The city is constantly innovating to provide the best possible care for New Yorkers who need it the most and CONNECT will center communities in care and bridge gaps, making sure that more New Yorkers will get the help that they need and don't fall between the cracks of the system."
Based on community needs, some clinics may have a legal clinic available a couple of times a week, while others might establish connections with existing community-based services such as legal advocacy, housing assistance, employment service providers or food pantries.
Unique to this model, each clinic will have a full-time community liaison on that staff that will establish an ongoing relationship between the clinic and its community and identify behavioral health priorities and solutions. Examples of these solutions can include providing walk-in services throughout the day, facilitating referrals and access for justice-involved people, and immediate admission to the clinic for people stepping down from more intensive treatment services.
CONNECT clinics will provide virtual services as well as on-site and off-site services. Based on community feedback and assessment of needs, CONNECT programs may also offer individual and group interventions at non-traditional settings, such as soup kitchens.
Peers will participate in the program by providing engagement and navigation through health, mental health, and social services for people, on and off-site. The city says providing this level of support helps aid and promote continuity of services, preventing people from falling through the cracks while referred between systems.