The New School News

The New School Joins New York City’s Domestic Violence Shelter Mental Health Initiative to Reduce Barriers to Care

The Trauma and Global Mental Health Lab at The New School for Social Research has worked to reimagine what mental health care looks like by investigating disparities in mental health issues and developing innovative solutions and interventions that can reduce barriers to care. Recently the lab has partnered with the City of New York on its Domestic Violence Shelter Mental Health Initiative, which will increase access to mental health services for families residing in the city’s domestic violence shelters. The initiative will support more than 10,000 adults and children who receive services at the city’s 55 domestic violence shelters, bringing mental health services – screenings, individual and group sessions, medication management – directly on-site to decrease wait times for services.

Over 500 staff members in the city’s domestic violence shelters will be trained extensively on topics related to mental health and trauma, including Psychological First Aid training facilitated by the Trauma and Global Mental Health Lab. “Gender-based violence is a major risk factor for mental health concerns,” said Adam Brown, The New School’s Vice Provost for Research and Director of the university’s Trauma and Global Mental Health Lab, in a press release. “Yet, due to issues of stigma and other barriers to care, survivors of gender-based violence often go without access to adequate mental health support. The New School is proud to be part of this important initiative, which has the potential to truly transform where and how care takes place for survivors of gender-based violence. The comprehensive approach will significantly increase capacity and lead to rapid detection, referrals, and treatment, and ultimately, much needed support for the wellbeing of individuals and families across this shelter system. As a partner in this initiative, The New School has been fortunate to lead the Psychological First Aid trainings to provide staff with tools to identify and reduce distress in shelter residents. We will likely see better outcomes and this strategy will serve as a national model for how cities can prevent and reduce mental health issues for survivors of gender-based violence.”

The Domestic Violence Shelter Mental Health Initiative is a multi-agency collaboration between NYC Health + Hospitals, providing mental health counseling and oversight of the initiative; the NYC Department of Social Services/Human Resources Administration, supporting the oversight of the initiative and manages the domestic violence shelters; the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence, offering guidance on the needs of families impacted by domestic and gender-based violence; and the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health, providing technical assistance and interagency coordination. 

“We want survivors of domestic and gender-based violence to know that they are not alone, and New York City is here to help and support them,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams in a press release. “With this new initiative, domestic violence shelter residents will have access to therapy appointments, trauma-informed care, and ongoing support, marking a significant step in our work to expand and strengthen care for survivors.”

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