Fort Greene Park


Wednesday, June 23, 2021
No. 59

NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, the Fort Greene Park Conservancy, and Fountain House today announced the Person-Centered Intervention Training (PCIT) Mental Health Response Pilot at Fort Greene Park. This unique program will feature two dedicated in-park Fountain House social well-being teams to proactively develop relationships with, respond to, and engage park users who need mental health support and services. The PCIT Mental Health Pilot is led by the Fort Greene Park Conservancy in partnership with NYC Parks and Fountain House, and is funded through a multi-year grant from the van Ameringen Foundation.

“We want to ensure our greenspaces are safe havens for all that visit – including those who may be in need of intervention and mental health support,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Thanks to van Ameringen Foundation’s generous support and our partners at the Fort Greene Park Conservancy and Fountain House, we can be change agents in the lives of countless people in the Fort Greene community. This pilot serves as a reminder that our greenspaces are more than just spaces for recreation but they are community hubs and resources.”

“As Summer draws closer and the victories against Covid-19 increase, our parks will attract more and more people. Too often people with mental health challenges have been viewed as lesser than and undeserving of the amenities this city has to offer. I am overjoyed to know that right in my backyard in Fort Greene Park, there will be services and resources to help address mental illness as well as the racial and socioeconomic disparities that too often accompany it. I look forward to the care that Fountain House will provide and the healing that our community so greatly deserves,” said City Council Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo.

“We’re grateful for the opportunity to work with partners NYC Parks and Fountain House, as well as our Community Advisory Committee and local organizations, to create new pathways dedicated to crisis intervention and mental health as an alternative to a public safety response. Our goal is to have all community members get the support they need and to stay connected with us and each other as users of Fort Greene Park.” said Rosamond Fletcher, Executive Director of the Fort Greene Park Conservancy (FGPC).

“For 73 years, Fountain House has proven that with the right community supports and being treated with dignity, that people who are most impacted by mental illness can thrive and lead meaningful lives. Our members have lower rates of homelessness, health issues, and justice involvement because of the social infrastructure we have built that offers a systematic alternative to social isolation, criminalization, marginalization. We are proud to expand our approach beyond our walls to meet the most vulnerable New Yorkers where they are, in partnership with NYC Parks and the Fort Greene Park Conservancy. I’m also personally very proud, as a resident of the neighborhood, that Fountain House can make an impact in my and our backyard. Together, we hope to fundamentally change the lives of our neighbors in need and create a vibrant, just and equitable post-COVID city.” said Dr. Ashwin Vasan, President and CEO of Fountain House.

The pilot program, launching late summer, will provide a direct, empathetic and streamlined model to address mental health in Fort Greene Park that gets people the services and resources they need, while helping to decriminalize mental illness and reduce racial and socioeconomic disparities within the neighborhood.

As part of the program, Park Enforcement Patrol (PEP) officers will take part in Person-Centered Intervention Training, a new model of learning about mental health and crisis response that combines person-centered or peer-based training and crisis intervention, developed by Mental Health Advocate, Fountain House member, and FGPC Treasurer Christina Sparrock.

Additionally, each Fountain House social well-being team will include a peer specialist, who is a person living with mental health conditions, in recovery, and certified to help others. Their unique insight will lend itself to person-centered training and a non-judgmental approach. The teams will also include a social worker, who will connect park users to Fountain House’s holistic care management model and local resources.

About the Fort Greene Park Conservancy:
The Fort Greene Park Conservancy (FGPC) is a local nonprofit that provides programming, maintenance, and advocacy to preserve and nourish Fort Greene Park as a community resource and public space for all New Yorkers for generations to come. In stewarding the park as a natural asset, FGPC also focuses on the park’s role in serving people and the surrounding communities; FGPC understands the intersectionality of mental health, public space management, and racial justice and seeks to make a difference.

About Fountain House:
Fountain House is a national mental health nonprofit fighting to improve health, increase opportunity, and end social and economic isolation for people living with serious mental illness. Founded in 1948 in New York City, Fountain House originated the clubhouse model in community mental health, that has been replicated across the five boroughs, and more than 300 times in nearly 40 US states and in 30 countries around the world.

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