Mental Illness Crisis

The Story

The suicide of a mentally-ill subway-pusher who murdered a straphanger last year is a horrible coda to a grotesque story. But there’s no reason why Melanie Liverpool—who had been released from Bellevue’s psych ward after ranting that she wanted to kill subway riders—should have been allowed to roam free and untreated in the first place. New York needs to get serious about dealing with the seriously mentally-ill now. There are humane alternatives to our current system of official apathy.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Failure: The Department of Health reports that the mayor’s signature mental-health initiative has been a failure when it comes to helping seriously mentally-ill New Yorkers. Read more.

  2. Kendra’s Law: There are at least 4,000 New Yorkers who would benefit from assisted-outpatient treatment (“Kendra’s Law”), but less than half that number are enrolled. Read more.

  3. Beds: Governor Cuomo has continued a long-standing policy of eliminating “unnecessary” beds in the state psychiatric hospitals, which just means more untreated mentally-ill people wind up on the streets. Read more.

“ThriveNYC has no basis in the actual science of mental health. The architects of the plan couldn’t tell the difference between mild mental illness and psychosis.”

NYC Council Member Ritchie Torres

Twitter Take

Featured Story

How to Fix New York’s Mental Health Crisis Without Spending More Money By DJ Jaffe, Stephen Eide, New York Post (May 13, 2019)

The mayor’s ThriveNYC program focuses on “wellness” but should prioritize the city’s most seriously ill.

The Past is Present

Time to Strengthen Kendra’s Law By DJ Jaffe (Spring 2011)

“A new bill would improve care for the mentally ill.”

And in other news...

“It’s hard to blame workers for taking expert advantage of bad management. As Schwartz pointed out, the LIRR often posts weekend work assignments for 55 or 48 hours of straight-through work.”