Unless you never go anywhere, you’ve seen some truly disturbed people out on the streets or in the subways — unkempt, to be kind, maybe muttering to themselves, maybe yelling, maybe just lying there oblivious to the world. They need help. They should not have to suffer as they do when left to their own devices.

So Mayor Adams says he is taking action, empowering the authorities to bring people who display mental illness, to a degree that it does not appear they can care for themselves, to a hospital for evaluation and possible commitment, even against their own will. This is a difficult but necessary move. Over many years, we have reduced the space available to treat those with mental illness, both out of horror at how many facilities operated and simply to save money. One result is what you see on the streets. It is not compassionate to allow it to continue.

That’s not to say there are no concerns with the new policy, like where the lines will be drawn on who really needs involuntary confinement and where the people who are picked up will go. This must be strictly monitored and altered as needed. But something must be done.