ThriveNYC violated the most basic rule of mental health care – New York Post

I  am deeply saddened any time politics interferes with what we, as therapists, are charged with: saving lives.

Earlier this week, Thrive­NYC took steps to distance itself from #BlueLivesMatter, and make a statement, by backing out of a program to provide mental health services to police officers — but it did so at a steep cost: therapeutic treatment of the very clients they were hired to work with.

Therapists are often put in a position in which one or some of our code of ethics conflict with each other and, at times, can even conflict with the law.

Yet, our professional code of ethics clearly states that we cannot discriminate.

I cannot worry about the reputation of my center or my personal feelings.

Instead, I must provide therapy to everyone, including, for example, pedophiles — ­despite any potential personal issues or fear of anti-pedophilia groups.

As therapists, it’s our obligation to deal with our personal feelings and adhere to our code of ethics, as everyone is deserving of therapy, despite their affiliation with any particular group.

Despite the code against discrimination, it seems that’s what may have happened with ThriveNYC and the NYPD ­officers it was supposed to help.

In my opinion, it violated one of our codes in refusing to provide treatment to someone in need while simultaneously abiding by another set of ethics — promoting social justice.

It’s our ethical obligation to use education, mentors and peers to work through personal issues that may interfere with our ability to counsel people whose values differ from our own.

I know that it’s easier said than done, of course.

Personally, I understand why ThriveNYC would want to make a statement against a group that I believe often ­ignores the current and past oppression of people of color in the criminal justice system.

But that shouldn’t allow you to dishonor your obligation to the Police Department — an obligation, in my opinion, that is more important than a perceived association with a group that clashes with your personal values.

You can always deal with the backlash tomorrow, while possibly saving a life today.

This is why outside partnerships are not enough to combat this epidemic of police  suicides.

New York City can also do more. It can increase mental health benefits to pay therapists more per session for treatment. It can allocate more money for mental health. It can take abandoned city buildings and offer them to mental health professionals at no cost or low cost and turn them into City Employee Mental Health Centers.

There’s always more to do.

If you are a police officer or any other city employee, and showing signs of depression and/or anxiety, or having thoughts of hurting yourself or someone else, please go to your local hospital, call 911 or reach out to a mental health professional.

Anthony Freire, LMHC, NCC, CCMHC, is the clinical director and founder of The Soho Center for Mental Health Counseling in downtown ­Manhattan.