By Naeisha Rose
The city’s First Lady and the head of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence have announced that $3.3 million in new funding will be allocated to Family Justice Centers citywide.
First Lady Chirlane McCray and Commissioner Cecile Noel said the funding will allow the centers to increase mental health services for survivors of domestic violence, using psychotherapy and psychiatric methods in a holistic approach to trauma.
Collaborating with the mayor’s office in the centers’ effort are ThriveNYC, NYC Health + Hospitals, and the Department of Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Center, with sponsorship from the Chapman Perelman Foundation.
“New York City continues to make early intervention and access to support for individuals a priority for those who have suffered trauma from intimate partner violence,” said McCray, the wife of Mayor DeBlasio and co-Chair of the mayor’s Domestic Violence Task Force. “The expansion of services will ensure survivors have greater access to the mental health services they need to heal.”
Officials in the mayor’s office said there is a wide body of literature documenting a link between domestic violence and mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.
“Through the first adopters of our program, we’ve seen the meaningful impact of convenient access to behavioral health services for so many survivors of domestic violence,” said Dr. Charles Barron, the Medical Director of Behavioral Health at NYC Health + Hospitals.
The Family Justice Centers will serve as one-stop destinations that will serve victims who have faced domestic violence, elder abuse and sex trafficking. They will be connected to Columbia University’s team of psychiatrists and psychologists regardless of what language they speak, their immigration status, income, sex, gender or sexual orientation.
New York made substantial gains last year in supporting victims of domestic violence with four major steps, including expanded paid leave to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking, prevention services for families in high-risk domestic violence cases, legal assistance or representation in housing-related matters for victims and early healthy relationship education courses at 128 middle schools across the city as a form of abuse prevention.
Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose