Chirlane McCray on NYC’s new effort to fight the opioid crisis

citywide Mental Health Weekend of Faith. The event is a part of ThriveNYC and aims to educate and train clergy leaders about mental health while encouraging communities of faith to talk about the topic.

During the first event, elected representatives and city commissioners joined McCray in numerous visits to houses of worships around the City. “Last year, we asked clergy members to put mental health on the top of their agenda,” she said. “We gave them a toolkit to help them understand how to talk about it, to make mental health a public conversation. We thought we’d get a good representation from our city, with maybe 10, 20 or even 100 churches, but we got 1,000 houses of worships to participate, including mosques and synagogues, 7-Day Adventist churches, and Catholic churches.”

Since the last Mental Health Weekend of Faith, the City has been working closely with faith-based institutions to host mental health training and consequently provide New Yorkers with safe environments of faith. Now, the focus is on substance abuse.

“This year, we’re putting addiction and the opioid epidemic at the top of the agenda and asking [religious leaders] to talk about this, that way we will get the word out. We’ve got to get rid of the stigma and the shame if we’re going to get people the care that they need.”