Solitary Confinement for 13 Months because of a Mental Illness?
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In light of recent and ongoing media focus on mass shootings, society is urging parents to recognize mood and behavioral changes in their children, know the signs, such as isolation and loss of interests, and to intervene before a tragedy occurs.
Numerous websites and mental health professionals encourage patients and their loved ones to seek help if they fear that the patient "may be a harm to himself or others."
Our beautiful son, brother, grandson, nephew, uncle, friend, and care provider, was arrested in October 2015. He is 27 years old, an artist, a musician, a lover of animals, intelligent, and is a gentle soul. He is unique. He is a true original. He has no history of violence and no previous criminal record.
Joshua has suffered from depression and anxiety for 12 years. Last year, he was diagnosed with Schizophrenia. He suffers from auditory and visual hallucinations, as well as delusions and paranoia. He hears voices.
We recognized changes in his behavior, we knew the signs to look for, and we allowed society to influence us. Because of the changes in his behavior, we were concerned that he may be self-medicating with alcohol.
We searched his apartment. We violated his privacy.
What we found was frightening and led us to call for help, because we love our son, and we knew he was very, very sick.
We immediately called the mental health crisis line in Chelan County and explained the situation.
The crisis line responder did not call us back, but called law enforcement instead. Joshua was not seen by a Designated Mental Health Professional. He was confronted, instead, by police.
According to Washington State Laws, Chapter 71.05 RCW, Joshua should have been seen by a Designated Mental Health Professional at a triage facility or hospital. Instead, the police arrested Josh where he works as a care provider for adults with disabilities.
Police insisted that the only way he would get the mental health help he needed was to be arrested. We were told by a representative of the Governor's office that we were misinformed. At that time, we knew nothing of the laws in place to protect him. We trusted the professionals.
Joshua was charged with 7 counts of attempted murder and has been held on a million dollar bail. He attempted nothing.
Please help encourage Chelan County Officials to use this unique situation in a positive manner that will encourage other community members to trust in the system. When a family calls for help, that is what they need. Chelan County residents need to feel safe if ever facing a situation involving a call for help. They need to know that they can trust the professionals to do the right thing for their loved one with a mental illness.
We are left with increasing questions as we discover laws in Washington State that have been designed to support those who are suffering from mental illness and who may be a harm to themselves or others.
Why did his medical providers not contact us as his mental illness rapidly progressed, when they had a signed release from Joshua to speak with us?
Why did a phone call to a mental health crisis line end with our son in jail instead of a treatment center or hospital?
Why are there laws that protect people who are suffering from mental illness when they are not implemented in the ways for which they were designed?
Why are there mental health organizations and advocacy groups when they are unable, or unwilling to help, after a situation becomes a "criminal case?" We have reached out to them all, including state and local officials. We have been told numerous times that the way in which this was handled was wrong, yet no one has been willing to advocate for our son.
How many other people are languishing jail or prison because of a mental health issue? The systems must change.
Why does society and the media beg for parents to know their children, be aware of changes, invade their privacy, and call for help, when they do not help when you make that difficult call?
We need to educate society. We need to educate law enforcement. We need to end the stigma of mental illness. We need to advocate for those who are unable to advocate for themselves.
We knew our son desperately needed help. We made that call for help. Joshua is still waiting for it.
We are pleading that these ludicrous charges be dropped and that Joshua receive the mental health help we were calling for over 8 months ago.
With sincere gratitude, we thank you for your support.
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Lance and Dana needs your help with “Update: 13 Months in Solitary Confinement because of a Mental Illness...Now our son must be hospitalized for 4 more years? When will justice prevail?”. Join Lance and and 828 supporters today.