An Open-Air Approach to Mental Health Treatment

Good morning. It’s Tuesday. We’ll find out about a pilot project that is bringing teams that can handle mental health issues to Prospect Park in Brooklyn. We’ll also get details on developments involving the cases against Donald Trump in New York.

Jonathan Timal, left, and Jared Grant in Prospect Park.Credit…Adam Gray for The New York Times

“We try to figure out what’s going on in someone’s life,” said Jonathan Timal, half of a team that was 30 minutes into an eight-hour shift in Prospect Park in Brooklyn.

He and Jared Grant, his teammate from the nonprofit Neighborhood Housing Services of Brooklyn, have a straightforward assignment: Walk up to people in the park — anyone, not just people who show signs of stress or instability — and ask a conversation-starter question, something like “How are you feeling today?”

“They have a lot of stuff bottled up, and nobody to talk to,” Grant said. “It helps just letting people express themselves.”

Timal and Grant are the faces of a pilot project, now in its fourth week, called Open Air Connections. It was billed as seeking to remove the stigma around mental health care through a community outreach effort. The two men were trained to assess the concerns of the people they approach — and how serious those concerns are — and make referrals to agencies that can provide help.

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