Three people were killed by the suspect hours after an unsuccessful call to the mental services.
Before opening fire at a mall in Copenhagen, Denmark on Sunday, the gunman tried to reach the country’s mental health services by phone, Danish media outlet DR reported on Wednesday.
The outlet reports that the 22-year old suspect was unable speak with a counselor at the Psychiatric Foundation because the service had altered its summer hours. It is not known why the gunman dialed the crisis line.
Just hours after trying to call, the gunman killed three people at Field’s shopping mall, including two 17-year-olds and a Russian national, while injuring several others.
The Psychiatric Foundation refused to comment.
“We do not wish to comment on this specific case. Our counselling is 100% anonymous and confidential, so we do not want to say who has called us and when,” Liza Marie Johnson, the head of the Psychiatric Foundation’s counselling department, said.
Johnson stated that the foundation wants to expand its hours but it relies heavily on volunteers and medical counsellors. They are also under tremendous pressure, Johnson said. She cited a significant increase in call volume in recent years.
“We believe we can respond to about 15,000 inquiries a year, but in reality, we get more than double than that, so we reply only to about a half,”Johnson stated.
The outlet claims that this isn’t the first instance of the problem with inadequate mental health care in Denmark in recent months. When news broke of the long wait times for crisis line calls, several people demanded that immediate action be taken. Simon Witting from Livslinien, the communication manager for mental health services, stated that not much progress has been made.
“It’s all about resources. We work with volunteer counsellors and we do as much as we can to recruit qualified volunteer counsellors, but we also understand that we do not have enough forces to meet the high demand,”He stated.
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