Watch ABC7 special City in Crisis: Mental Health Emergency

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Wednesday, May 10, 2023
Watch ABC7 special City in Crisis: Mental Health Emergency
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Watch ABC7 special City in Crisis: Mental Health Emergency

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The death of Jordan Neely has sparked renewed discussion around mental health and if enough is being done to help those who need it the most.

One in five New Yorkers experiences mental illness in a given year, according to the mayor's office.

It is a highly charged, highly complicated issue that has been made worse by the pandemic.

So what can be done to help those struggling with mental illness?

As lawmakers grapple with that question so are we.

And the answer could be the difference between life and death.

We dive into what services are being offered, what more can be done, and how you can help if you see someone suffering in our latest special City in Crisis: Mental Health Emergency.

It is the video that has shocked and divided a city, but no matter how you feel about the death of Jordan Neely one thing is clear-- New York City is dealing with a mental health crisis.

Neely was one of those New Yorkers struggling with mental health since he was a teen, after the brutal murder of his mother.

While it's not clear exactly what he was doing on the F-train last week before he was placed in a chokehold, one thing not up for debate is he needed help.

"One thing we know for sure, Jordan Neely did not deserve to die," Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference.

Adams said that people who struggle with mental illness are often "caught up in a cycle of violence, sometimes as the perpetrator, but more often as the victim."

Investigative Reporter Dan Krauth has more on Neely's life and what's been done in the wake of his death.

So what's being done to help those dealing with mental health illness?

The city is faced with the complex task of offering comprehensive care to the wide spectrum of mental health conditions to those who may not have the resource to seek out treatment.

Mayor Adams acknowledges there's no easy answer.

Fortunately, there are organizations that are doing what they can to offer the care that's needed.

Eyewitness News Reporter Kemberly Richardson spoke with a man who's received some aid from one such group and is slowly learning to manage his schizophrenia diagnosis.

ABC News Chief Health and Medical Correspondent Doctor Jen Ashton has made it her calling to bring attention to mental health after her ex-husband died of suicide six years ago.

She's turned that pain and sorrow into action by calling attention to the importance of providing treatment to those suffering from mental health conditions.

Dr. Jen Ashton answers questions about mental health

Mental health is a daunting topic to navigate as an adult and is made even more difficult for teens faced with bullying and the unrealistic landscape of social media.

A new CDC survey shows that many teens are in crisis with 30% of high school girls saying they have seriously considered suicide. Boys are no exception with 14% of high school-aged boys saying the same thing.

The study also found 57% of teenage girls reported feeling "persistently sad or hopeless, a number that grows to 70% among LGBTQ+ students.

Eyewitness News' Stacey Sager has a very honest conversation with a group of students about the biggest mental health issues they're facing and the obstacles they're up against.

With so many people suffering from mental health conditions in the city, what can the average person do to help?

The split-second decision of whether or not to get involved is complicated.

We may not all be mental health professionals, but there are resources available that can inform us on how to aid someone in mental distress.

Eyewitness News Reporter Mike Marza talks to an expert who breaks down how to safely offer help.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, help is available. Call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by dialing 988 or 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text TALK to 741-741 or visit for free confidential emotional support 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Even if it feels like it, you are not alone.