De Blasio rebrands ThriveNYC again, downplays violence by mentally ill

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Mayor de Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray rolled out the third iteration of her much-maligned mental health plan ThriveNYC Wednesday — while downplaying the horrific attack of a man in a lower Manhattan ATM by a hatchet-wielding maniac.

“We do have some really serious issues to address there’s no question,” de Blasio told The Post when asked about the bloody slashing at the Chase ATM in the Financial District at 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

“It is a very very small percentage and I want to emphasize this … we should never stereotype folks with mental health challenges as being violent,” he said.

“One in five American has a mental health challenge. Very, very few have a violence problem,” Hizzoner stressed.

De Blasio did not make any other comments about Sunday’s chilling attack other than to say, “We should never stereotype folks with mental health challenges as being violent.”

However violent incidents involving mentally ill New Yorkers are not uncommon.

Just one day before the ATM slashing, a man nearly shoved a stranger onto the subway tracks in Times Square. In May a homeless man randomly slugged an Asian woman in Chinatown. In February, a slashing rampage on the A train left two people dead and two injured.

Mayor Bill de Blasio insists mentally ill people shouldn’t be blamed for violent crimes.
Taylor Hill/Getty Images

De Blasio and McCray opened the mayor’s daily press briefing Wednesday by introducing a new website and public education campaign called Mental Health for All — that’s largely a repackaging of the $1.25 billion ThriveNYC plan.

ThriveNYC has come under fire by critics for failing to address people with serious and dangerous mental illness, as well as lacking basic performance metrics.

“Apparently the city has no mechanism to red flag individuals who are constantly being arrested for random attacks,” Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens) told The Post.

“Serious mental illness, left untreated, always gets worse,” Holden said.

Surveillance video shows a 51-year-old man attacked by a hatchet-wielding maniac in the ATM vestibule of a Chase bank on Broadway near Beaver Street in the Financial District, Sunday, Aug. 15, 2021.
Surveillance shows a 51-year-old man being slashed by a crazed attacker with a hatchet in the Financial District on Aug. 15, 2021.

Both Holden and GOP mayoral nominee Curtis Sliwa called on de Blasio Wednesday to use Kendra’s Law to mandate mental health treatment for people suffering from bipolar disorder or schizophrenia who have a history of violent behavior.

“We cannot afford to have another hatchet man case,” Sliwa said at a press conference at the scene of Sunday’s attack.

“We can involuntarily take these men and women and give them inpatient care,” Sliwa said.

Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams also supports an increase in the use of Kendra’s Law.

The mayor and his wife already tried rebranding ThriveNYC in May by renaming it the Office of Community Mental Health. However the office had the same leadership and press email address as its predecessor. 

A press release about the newest effort, Mental Health for All, does not mention ThriveNYC by name but does highlight McCray’s seven-year quest to address mental health challenges in the five boroughs.

The new website repeatedly directs users to 1-888-NYC-WELL, the free mental health hotline that was the cornerstone of ThriveNYC even though it missed an annual target to connect people to services during the height of the coronavirus pandemic last year.

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