How Mayor Adams plans to deal with NYC mental health crisis

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Sunday, October 2, 2022
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Right now there is an undeniable, palpable sense of fear in New York City - people are terrified they will be the next victim of a random attack. Kemberly Richardson has an exclusive interview with Mayor Eric Adams.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Right now there is an undeniable, palpable sense of fear in New York City - people are terrified they will be the next victim of a random attack.

It happens far too often - the vicious fatal stabbing of a veteran FDNY Lieutenant and the severe beating of a woman inside a subway station. The victims did not know their aggressors, who both experienced mental health episodes.

It is something Eyewitness News asked Mayor Eric Adams about.

"Many of these folks we see have hospital bands, we know they've been in the system, right and they come back out - that's the problem," said Adams.

Officials are also seeing an uptick in 911 calls involving emotionally disturbed people.

"There's a small number that, if they don't receive the care they need then it's a very violent encounter, and that's what we're seeing," said Adams.

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When it comes to 911 calls involving those in crisis, so far this year, there have been about 131,000 - up from roughly 128,000 during the same time last year. That is an eight percent increase - some 500 each day, a staggering number.

Mayor Adams admits the system has been failing for some time - a person has an episode, some receive medication and then are released.

A better solution, Adams says is the so-called 'clubhouse model' - a multi-pronged approach that goes way beyond just policing.

"Our goal now is to build that social net infrastructure - we have to catch people before they carry out the attacks and we have not been doing that," Adams said.

This sets up a dysfunctional revolving door scenario.

"You're in the hospital with me, know you have violent tendencies, schizophrenia, or some other issue, and I need to hand you off to someone - not hand you back into the streets," he adds.

Then it becomes a situation of not if - but when that person will strike again.

"The situation is not going to get better, you need to do something, you need to change something," Adams said.

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