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Would More Psychiatric Hospital Beds Prevent Some Violent Crimes?

After the deadly subway shooting in Brooklyn by a man who talked about struggling with mental illness, New York Mayor Eric Adams called for an increase in the number of psychiatric hospital beds, the Guardian reports. On Sunday, he said that although the medical community still faces COVID-19, it needs to pivot to offer more psychiatric services. “We need the funding from the state to open more mental health beds,” he told MSNBC. “I rallied with [the New York State Nurses Association] during the height of COVID to talk about the closing of mental health beds they will use for the emergency COVID medical needs, but now we need to get more beds online.”

The alleged subway shooter, Frank James, 62, was arrested in connection with the shooting of 10 people on April 12. Investigators say he detonated a smoke bomb in the subway car during the morning rush and fired his pistol 33 times, striking 10 people. On his social media account, he posted videos of himself talking about his experience with PTSD and inaccessibility to treatment. Last year, more than half of Americans needing mental health treatment did not receive it, according to the National Healthcare Quality and Disparities Report. And while New York state has approved more funding for mental health services, it was mainly to enforce a law that would require some people to receive inpatient treatment. Adams said he wanted to see things go further, saying “We [need] treatment beds, safe haven beds, wraparound services. We’re going to face this crisis head on and not ignore it like it has been ignored for far too many years.”


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