By Rachel Holliday Smith
On West 124th Street, Mount Sinai Hospital has been planning for more than a year to open a new health facility.
In its current form, the Mt. Sinai outpatient clinic, set for a late-2021 opening, would include primary and specialty care as well as mental health treatment for children, teens and adults.
On the block Mt. Sinai is eyeing, there are multiple methadone clinics, a sliding-scale health center and at least two homeless shelters.
The Greater Harlem Coalition was founded last year to fight the Mount Sinai facility and bring attention to the concentration of social and health services in East and Central Harlem as a problem.
The protesters’ message was clear: the neighborhood is already doing more than its fair share, and they shouldn’t have to shoulder more services.
On a map of the density of mental health programs the group compiled from state and city health data, Harlem is shaded dark gray. Their analysis found Harlem has just 5% of New York City’s population but 15% of its mental health programs.
Data from the state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) obtained by the coalition through a Freedom of Information Law request shows that while 6.9% of people in New York City OASAS-certified treatment programs for opioid addiction are Harlem residents, nearly a fifth (19.1%) of opioid treatment programs are located there as well.
Shawn Hill, a co-founder of the Coalition told the crowd, “Every time you feel overburdened, every time you feel that it’s too much — you are absolutely correct. And we have the data to back that up,”
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