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Details emerge on Copenhagen mass shooter
Hours after a failed call to the mental health services, the suspect gunned down three people, Danish media reports
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.
According to the outlet, the suspect, 22, was unable to speak to a counsellor at the Psychiatric Foundation as the service had changed its work hours for the summer. There is no information on why the gunman called 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 declined to comment on the situation.
“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 said the foundation would like to extend its hours, but the service relies largely on medical professionals and counsellors that work as volunteers. She also complained about the soaring pressure they face, citing a massive increase in the number of calls 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 said.
According to the outlet, this is not the first time the issue of inadequate mental health services has come up in recent months in Denmark. Several people reportedly demanded immediate action in October when news of long waiting times on crisis lines broke. However, not much headway has been made since, said Simon Witting, communication manager with mental health service Livslinien.
“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 said.