11-year-old migrant boy hangs himself at NYC shelter, raising concerns about mental health support for asylum-seekers

A police source claimed Tuesday that an 11-year-old Venezuelan migrant child hanged himself at an Upper West Side shelter after a dispute with his parents.

Officers responding to a 911 call on Monday evening discovered the toddler unconscious in the foyer of the Stratford Arms Hotel on West 70th Street. According to the source, his parents hurried him there for help after discovering him seated on the bedroom floor of their apartment, a shoelace wound around his neck and the bedpost.

The boy was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he died at 6 p.m.

Residents of the hotel, which houses a city-run shelter, told the Daily News that they heard the mother’s screams after discovering her comatose child in the room.

Erlis Coronel shares a floor with the family. She explained that she had just recently arrived at the shelter and didn’t know the family well, but had seen them in passing in the hallways.

“Everyone was shocked, screaming, and scared,” said Coronel, 22.

“Everyone heard those screams,” she went on to say. “That was the moment it happened. He went downstairs, and they took him.”

She claimed that firefighters and police attempted to save the boy’s life there, but it was too late.

Coronel, who is from Venezuela, stated that she had seen the youngster earlier that day.

“I saw him at 2 o’clock in the afternoon,” she told me. “‘You didn’t go to class today?’ I asked.” And he replied, ‘No, I didn’t have class for some reason.'”

According to Upper West Side Councilwoman Gale Brewer, the boy was the family’s only child. As the inquiry continues, no official cause of death has been published.

11-year-old migrant boy hangs himself at NYC shelter, raising concerns about mental health support for asylum-seekers

According to the police source, the 11-year-old and his parents argued about a cell phone because the boy did not have his own device and wanted to use his parents’.

He became depressed after they refused to let him use it and eventually fled to the bedroom, where he was subsequently discovered, according to the source.

“We were all appalled to see what happened to the boy,” said shelter resident Luis Sigcha, who is originally from Ecuador.

Sigcha, 48, watched shelter security hurry to assist the youngster.

“The guard helped him, they got him down, but … he was unconscious, he no longer gave any signs of life,” he went on to say.

On Tuesday, a wreath was hung on the hotel’s front door. At the end of the school day, groups of mothers, nannies, and children went by the 10-story site, chatting and laughing.

However, the boy’s death has had a chilling effect on the hotel’s residents. It has also begun to raise concerns regarding migrant access to mental health treatments.

Juan Sebastian, a father of two, is reminded of his own 11-year-old kid. He claims that his son and 14-year-old daughter have suffered with the change since the family relocated here two months ago. Aside from the effort to find a consistent job, he stated that was one of the most difficult aspects of moving to New York City.

11-year-old migrant boy hangs himself at NYC shelter, raising concerns about mental health support for asylum-seekers

“This is something that, worries you,” Sebastian, 36, added. “It makes you stand out… I’m taken aback. As a father, I can’t image going through that. It’s terrifying.

“It needs to be a place where children can talk, they can walk freely, they can watch television,” he said. “Things like televisions, they’re very important when you’re 11 years old.”

According to Brewer, the city has dispatched social workers to the hotel to assist both the 11-year-old’s family and other families, but she believes it is insufficient.

She wants to see greater assistance for migrants adjusting to life in New York.

More than 100,000 migrants have arrived in New York City in the last 18 months, with 67,000 still under the city’s care. Thousands of people have escaped political and economic upheaval to come here in search of a better life, but without easy access to work permits or stable housing, many have become discouraged.

“It’s very painful,” Mayor Eric Adams said of the 11-year-old’s death during a press conference on Tuesday. “It’s excruciatingly painful. You begin to wonder, ‘Did you do enough, or should we have done more?’ And we know we’ve done everything we could with what we’ve got. But it’s excruciatingly painful.”

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