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Helping, not just jailing, mentally ill New Yorkers

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A harsh reality of many Bronx residents is the sight of someone randomly lashing out in the throes of a mental health crisis. It can occur on subways as people go to work, while walking as you drop children off at school, or going about ordinary business. We live with a sense that there is danger in our own neighborhoods whenever we see someone presenting serious mental health or behavioral challenges.

It is heartbreaking to see a member of the community deteriorate from stability to the depths of mental health crisis where they may harm themselves or others, be subject to arrest for a crime, or become part of an encounter with police that ends in tragedy.

I see the people struggle in this wellness journey every day, in almost every area of the Bronx. In desperation for work, some pick through garbage cans for bottles to recycle; some are dazed and confused shouting incoherently; and we see the most marginalized folks sleeping on the subway or on encamped on a sidewalk.

Some people try to help by giving a few dollars or calling 911, but this is a temporary fix.

We cannot continue to witness this despair without trying to help in a more meaningful way.

Last year, the NYPD received more than 38,000 calls for people described as having a mental health emergency in the Bronx.

Most people experiencing mental health disorders are not a threat to public safety. Yet a significant portion of the population of our jails and prisons remains comprised of people with mental........

© NY Daily News

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