NYC Mental Health Resource Directory for Older Adults Now Available

NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell-Hosted Is First of its Kind in NYC

May 19, 2004

New York, NY

New York City's older adults, physicians, and caregivers now have a unique, new Web site,, where comprehensive mental health and psychosocial information and resources are easily accessed., developed and hosted by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, includes a listing of New York City Medicare mental-health providers, and is the first resource of its kind. offers valuable information for health care providers, older adults, and caregivers including:

1) a directory of over 1,000 psychiatrists and other mental health providers categorized by specialty, language spoken, hospital affiliation, home visiting capacity, and location;

2) patient education materials, in English and Spanish, with information and resources on such topics as Grief and Loss, Managing Health Costs, and Housing Options; and

3) an opportunity for physicians to ask questions of Dr. Robert Abrams, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry Services at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell's geriatrics division, and for older adults and caregivers to read these email queries and answers. Questions may cover such topics as symptoms of psychiatric disorders, current treatment strategies, and upcoming treatments, among others.

Older adults face a range of mental health challenges including depression, dementia, elder abuse, loneliness, grief and loss issues, and life-stress issues such as retirement yet many older New Yorkers are not getting the treatment they deserve, says Risa Breckman, CSW, Co-Developer of, and Instructor of Gerontological Social Work in Medicine and Director of Social Work Programs and Education in the Division of Geriatrics and Gerontology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell.

While more than 20 percent of older people have specific mental disorders that are not part of 'normal aging,' only a small percentage of Medicare reimbursement is for psychiatric treatment, adds Ms. Breckman. There are about 844,000 older New Yorkers enrolled in Medicare, yet they cannot readily locate the mental health resources available to them and neither can their caregivers or health-care providers. Our hope is that will help rectify this problem.

The new directory was compiled from the survey responses of New York City area mental health providers, including physicians, case managers, and social workers. The purpose of the survey, sent to over 10,000 NYC Medicare mental health providers, was to collect resources for the directory, and to assess the current awareness of mental health resources for older adults, as well as the distribution and accessibility of those resources. Final survey results will be available shortly.

We hope the survey results will provide a clearer picture of what areas of the city are well served, suitably served, and underserved by Medicare mental health providers, says Ms. Breckman.

The directory project was initiated by the Mental Health Committee of the East Side Council on the Aging (ESCOTA). It is funded by the Cornell Institute for Geriatric Psychiatry of Weill Cornell Medical College, the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), and The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation.