Think Justice Blog

Breaking Point

New York's Mental Health Crisis

“Breaking Point: New York’s Mental Health Crisis” is a powerful broadcast series about the intersection of poverty, mental health, and the criminal justice system by Cindy Rodriguez, of New York City’s public radio station WNYC. Vera is pleased to complement the broadcasts with a blog series that features the voices of experts from a range of fields as they examine how the nexus of poverty, mental health, and the criminal justice system affects nearly every aspect of New York City life. The series identifies gaps in these systems and identifies opportunities for research and reform.

All Posts

  • Cindy Rodriguez
    Cindy Rodriguez
June 24, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

Breaking Point

My beat at WNYC is covering poverty. And I’ve been doing it for roughly a decade.  At this point, I’ve probably spoken to hundreds of people, many of whom were either in the middle of a crisis or just getting over one.  Whether it was a single mother of four b...

  • Ayesha Delany-Brumsey
    Ayesha Delany-Brumsey
April 29, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

Public defenders can open the door to health services

The data clearly show that people with mental health issues are overrepresented in our criminal justice system. Men and women in jail have rates of serious mental illness three and six times higher, respectively, than men and women in the community. Furthermor...

  • Chris Weiss
    Chris Weiss
March 27, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

The role of research in filling system gaps

WNYC’s “Breaking Point” series highlights shortcomings in New York City’s economic, mental health, and criminal justice systems and the ways that current programs and structures are failing the people they are designed to serve. But there are substantial effor...

  • Glenn E. Martin
March 19, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

Embracing a public health approach to justice reform

My adolescence and young adulthood were largely shaped by negative forces: community disinvestment, mass incarceration, a failed War on Drugs, and its accompanying neglect of public health. The punishing circumstances of my youth were only matched by the harsh...

  • Sandy Rosin
March 05, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

An interdisciplinary approach to keeping families together

As highlighted in WNYC’s Breaking Point series, the combination of poverty with serious mental health issues is deeply damaging to many families. In our work representing indigent parents and other caregivers in child protective proceedings in Manhattan and Qu...

  • Chirlane McCray
February 26, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

Laying the groundwork for a more inclusive mental health system

WNYC’s “Breaking Point” series paints a vivid picture of a city where far too many people are struggling with mental illness on their own, and in the shadows. I recently met a woman whose experience illustrates the peril many New Yorkers face—and also the prom...

  • Danielle Sered
    Danielle Sered
February 25, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

Responding to the lasting impact of violence

When poverty, mental health, and criminal justice intersect, violence often plays a key role. And while not every mental health issue is rooted in traumatic experience, violence and its associated impacts have a profound effect on the well-being of those harme...

  • Elizabeth Glazer
February 19, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

Replace fear with science for effective NYC justice reform

New York City’s extraordinary drop in crime—best evidenced by murders plummeting from 2,245 in 1990 to 332 last year and jail incarceration being reduced by nearly half since 1991—is certainly something to be proud of, yet we still face challenges in effective...

February 13, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

A holistic approach to helping young people achieve

Every day at Good Shepherd Services (GSS), we see how precariously many of the city’s most vulnerable and marginalized children and families balance the effects of toxic stress, complex trauma, mental illness and poverty. We know—from our experience in our chi...

  • Margaret diZerega
    Margaret diZerega
  • Erin Burns-Maine
February 05, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

A place to call home

Programs for young students in elementary schools and for teens in the foster care system who struggle with emerging mental health issues or trauma—as described in WNYC’s "Breaking Point: New York’s Mental Health Crisis" series—are important preventatives that...

  • David Cloud
    David Cloud
February 03, 2015

Series: Breaking Point

New blog series with WNYC explores intersection of mental health, poverty, and the justice system in NYC

The behavioral healthcare system in the U.S. fails to meet the needs of too many people who need it most. As states have emptied and closed down their psychiatric hospitals without creating community-based mental health services to support those in need, our j...