Chirlane McCray calls on churches to host mental health workshops

First Lady of New York, Chirlane McCray (second from left) with Rev. Dr. Alfred Cockfield, Sister Audrey Linette Cockfield and Minister Alfred Cockfield ll.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Chirlane McCray, last Sunday, unveiled a comprehensive guide to mental health titled “Thrive NYC – A Mental Health Roadmap for All” to help New Yorkers find a better way of living through 54 programs that include term treatment, mental health in schools, early detection and community partnerships.

The almost $1B program will redesign the city’s mental health system over a four years.

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s wife delivered a very candid presentation during a Black History Month celebration at God’s Battalion Of Prayer Church on Linden Boulevard in Brooklyn, and called on Dr. Rev. Alfred Cockfield and Sister Audrey Linette Cockfield to sign up at, to host a workshop.

“As a nation, we must do more to help the vast amount of people with mental illness, many who, are not violent, but are victims themselves,” said McCray who added that mental illness is still stigmatized.

The author and poet who traces her roots to Barbados and St. Lucia, spoke about living with her parents in Massachusetts who suffered from depression, and the agony and uncertainty she and her husband faced when daughter “Chiara was diagnosed with depression and addiction, and suffered in silence. But despite the terrible pain Chiara endured, she achieved good grades, and will graduate this June.”

“It is personal, but I feel as though it’s the one thing that no one ever talks about,” said McCray, a strong advocate for high quality and accessible mental health services, and who is using her influence as chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to advance awareness of mental illness.

She came ready with a battery of information to bolster her plan to combat mental illness in the city, and spoke passionately about making it a top priority by hiring 100 mental health consultants to work in schools across the city.

After months of research on the topic and attending conferences with mental health professionals from Canada and Sweden, the First Lady of New York will tackle post partum depression that affects one in every 10 women. Over two years, the program will screen and treat women in New York as part of the wider spectrum to educate residents.

The Wellesley College graduate, who works with public and private sectors to support the mayor’s agenda and who committed herself to a mental health roadmap to close gaps and disparities in mental healthcare, said that the faith community will play a leading role with the first aid class.

According to the website, Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) is a groundbreaking public education program that teaches the skill-set needed to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental health and substance use challenges or crises.

During the afternoon celebration that included a musical tribute by Professor Darryl Jordan and a showcase of the civil rights movie “Selma,” First Lady McCray was honored for her outstanding work and presented with a plaque from Rev. Alfred Cockfield, First Lady Audrey Linette Cockfield and Alfred Cockfield ll.

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