Add crisis support services to LinkNYC

Created by Jonah Bossewitch.

I'm a Developer in New York, NY. I work at Mental Health Association of NYC. Previously, I've worked at Columbia Univesrsity, Center for Teaching and Learning, Abstract Edge, MaMaMedia. I earned a Ph.D from Columbia University.

Project Description

LinkNYC's tablet (not the big 55" advertising screens) currently displays splash screens for 911 and 311 when idle.

The kiosks should also support mental health services alongside emergency and information.

Many calls to the suicide hotline used to come in from payphones. Although LinkNYC poses serious privacy concerns, it still provides a safer, more anonymous setting than your personal phone for connecting to support services.

The city has invested $800M in the Thrive (, including a big investment in NYC's NYCWell -, which provides voice, text and sms support to NY'ers in emotional distress.

The city has spent $2M advertising for NYCWell.

A splash screen on the LinkNYC tablet would help:
- raise awareness of the the NYCWell program
- allow users to directly call the hotline over the vonage phone service
- possibly allow users to search/browse for mental health services/providers

Other variations on this theme might include connecting users to alternate hotlines and support services, however, NYCWell themselves do referrals so this may be unnecessary.

I am a long-time mental health and privacy advocate. I want to see LinkNYC used more purposefully, and help give more back to the community than it takes. I think that support services are important, and that the option to connect to them anonymously is being lost.

All too often, identity is seen as a feature in medical/behavioral health services. It is impossible to count the support calls that do not come in, but I believe it is important to design for this possibility.

Connecting with the right people who can make help make this happen. The technological challenges around this project are fairly basic (at least, for the MVP). The challenge is working with LinkNYC/Intersection/City Bridge/DOITT to figure out the governance around how to get applications onto LinkNYC.

There is certainly room to embellish this idea beyond the most basic splash screen with a button to call for services. The website could be customized for the tablets (I work at MHA-NYC, where we are currently developing this site for DOHMH).

Project Goals

  • Release design for a splash page on the LinkNYC promoting crisis support (NYC Well)

  • Package a simple android app that wraps the NYCWell website so it is suitable for deployment on LinkNYC

  • Continue building a provider/services directory that is easily searchable by the public (make sure 311 connects it too)

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