NYC Public Advocate Calls For Mental Health Resources And Federal And State Support After A Second Asylum Seeker Loses Their Life To Suicide

December 21st, 2022

Press Release

"In the wake of a second asylum seeker losing their life to suicide, and in anticipation of another increase in arrivals, we must examine the holes in our service infrastructure, especially in the area of mental health, to help prevent future pain. People who have come to our city seeking asylum have endured immense trauma, which must be met with increased empathy and treated with elevated mental health services. In a city with longstanding inadequacies in both mental health support and the shelter system broadly it is clearly not enough to do what we have done in the past – we must do more, and to provide more aid to asylum seekers, we must receive it from our governing partners.

"While I’m grateful that the federal spending bill will include money to help cities meet the needs of asylum seekers, I also fear putting New York in competition with other cities for funding will ultimately mean less aid for those who need it most. At the same time, New York City should not be alone in bearing the challenge of this crisis – the Governor should work with additional cities to house asylum seekers statewide. This is a national crisis that has become a New York crisis, and with the expectation of an increase in people arriving in the coming weeks, we cannot wait to put in place the plans and the resources necessary to meet the need."

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