Thrive NYC Disaster

The Story

Photo: Jeff Schear/Getty Images

Yet another avoidable police shooting of a mentally ill person occurred last Friday. While arresting a trespasser, an NYPD officer was attacked by Kwesi Ashun, whose family had begged the city to intervene in his “spiral” into madness. With a history of violence against police officers, Ashun should have been placed under court-supervised treatment. But because the city’s response to serious mental illness is so fractured and ill-considered, an officer was seriously injured, and a man is dead.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Kendra: Kendra’s Law is the nation’s most robust and effective means for ensuring that seriously mentally ill people are compliant with treatment–but New York City does not impose it often enough. Read more.

  2. Thrive: Mayor de Blasio has allocated mental health resources to helping people with low-level depression, not individuals with full-blown disorders who are in much greater need of treatment. Read more.

  3. Compliance: Compelling dangerous mentally ill people to be compliant with treatment reduces arrest, homelessness, and hospitalization rates by 70%. Read more.

“We are all very distraught because as a family we tried to follow protocol. We really tried to help him. We reached out to the city.”

Ama Bartley, sister of Kwesi Ashun

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Deinstitutionalizing the Mentally Ill By Manuel Trujillo, Fred Siegel, Paul Shectman, Michael Pawel, Myron Magnet, Heather Mac Donald, Charles Gunther, William Grinker, Aaron Biller, Martin Begun (Spring, 1993)

“It would be premature, however, to declare a turnaround in New York’s mental health policy, which continues to be driven by a powerful conjunction of fiscal imperatives and ideological pressures that militate against long-term commitment of the seriously and violently mentally ill.”

And in other news...

“New York legislators heard from coaches, league officials, scientists and former football players during a Tuesday hearing to consider a bill banning children under age 13 from playing organized tackle football.”