Public Advocate Jumaane Williams has chided Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday for trying to claim credit for the federal government’s new ‘988’ three-digit quick dial to a national suicide prevention hotline.
Williams said de Blasio should not claim sole credit for the initiative.
He revealed that he had long pushed for City Hall to create a similar number for Gothamites to dial when they see a fellow New Yorker in distress for an emergency response from paramedics and mental health experts, instead of routing the calls through police dispatch at 911 as is the current practice.
It was learned that the new national ‘988’ number will connect callers to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, but it will not automatically connect local callers with city officials to dispatch help to New Yorkers endangering themselves or others.
“If the Mayor wants to celebrate federal action on this issue, he should embrace fundamental reforms on a city level, where he has prevented the very progress we have been pushing,” Williams said in a statement.
“I have appreciated this administration’s focus on mental health and wellness, as this issue is personal to me and so many New Yorkers, but the execution of that focus has often been ineffective or inadequate,” Williams added.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or are experiencing a mental health crisis and live in New York City, you can call 1-888-NYC-WELL for free and confidential crisis counseling. If you live outside the five boroughs, you can dial the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or go to SuicidePreventionLifeline.org.