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NYC Subway Shooting Highlights the Country's Mental Health Crisis

Access to mental healthcare in New York City is really disgraceful. There were big institutions that were closed down in the 1970s and the 1980s. Those institutions were horrific.

Police in New York City arrested a man named Frank James who they say is the suspect behind a subway shooting that left at least 23 people injured, including 10 from gunshot wounds, in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood on Tuesday morning. The motive behind the shooting is still unknown — though James has been linked to a YouTube channel where he posted videos frequently about racism, violence and his struggles with mental illness, and also lashed out against New York City Mayor Eric Adams, who has since vowed to deploy more police patrols and expand mental health outreach programs to combat violence. We speak with Andrew Solomon, professor of clinical medical psychology at Columbia University, who says the shooting “represents a lapse in mental health,” and calls access to mental healthcare in New York City for people in poverty and particularly people of color “disgraceful.” Solomon says the pandemic, racial injustice and global violence have exacerbated underlying problems of mental health and that the government must provide “better mental health services, but those can’t be provided by the police.” He also speaks about the rise of suicides committed by children, which he investigated in a recent New Yorker piece titled “The Mystifying Rise of Child Suicide.” - Democracy Now!