Credit: Contributed

New York City First Lady Chirlane McCray announced a citywide hotline to provide support for issues related to mental health Oct. 24 at a community support center in the Corona neighborhood in Queens.

The hotline, called NYC Well, allows New Yorkers to connect with a counselor or reach mental health and substance abuse services 24 hours a day, seven days a week. NYC Well can be reached online, through the phone or through text.

“We want everyone to know just how easy it is to use NYC Well because sadly, and far too often, we see what happens when people can’t get the help they need, the right kind of help and early on, before illness completely disrupts their life and relationships,” said McCray. “We are determined to make sure that people know where to turn when they need help for themselves or someone they love.”

NYC Well

Call: 1-888-NYC-Well

Text: WELL to 65173

Chat: nyc.gov/nycwell

McCray was joined by approximately a dozen mental health advocates and elected officials who also praised the hotline.

McCray reflected on her personal struggle to find the proper aid for her daughter, Chiara.

“I will never forget the moment when my daughter told us that she was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and addiction,” McCray said. “I talked to doctors, I talked to friends and family. I scoured the internet, and the reality is I didn’t really know what I was looking for.”

“It became clear to me that my experience was not an exception,” said McCray later on. “It was the rule.”

The Mental Health Association of New York City, a nonprofit, will manage the program. The program will cost $5.3 million in its first year and $4.5 million a year after that. The cost is largely for hiring new counselors.

NYC Well is an expansion of the city’s previous crisis line, LifeNet. It now includes follow-up services, short-term counseling and peer support. The hotline is part of the city’s Thrive NYC initiative, which aims to destigmatize and address issues surrounding mental health.

Counselors can be reached at 1-888-NYC-WELL or by texting WELL to 65173.