Mom rallies for mental health care reform after Connecticut

    11:05 PM, Dec 17, 2012   |    comments
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    LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - The Connecticut shooting is a pain so deep, the entire country is feeling pain from the tragedy. Some are showing their support for the small community through vigils, prayer and action.

    Law enforcement officials said the gunman responsible for Friday's massacre on Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. suffered from some type of personality disorder.

    Now, a Booneville mother of a mentally ill son said he and others like him need better care and is taking her fight to the White House.

    "Any little thing could set him off," said Nancy Young.

    It has been a long road for her and her son, Tim, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 11-years-old.

    "He was actually kicked out of about 14 different day cares before he got to kindergarten," said Young.

    Now Tim is 21-years-old, and his mother said when he is off his medication, he tends to get violent. Just last Friday, the same day of the shooting in Newtown, Conn., Young said Tim threatened to take her life.

    "He said that he was going to kill me out of his life because I hadn't let him know about a schedule change," said Young.

    That's when Young started an online petition directly to the White House, asking for more funding for mental health facilities instead of prisons. She said patients with severe mental illness should be required to take their medicine and more long term care facilities should be available.

    "Even at the state hospital, a long term stay there is about 4 weeks, which is still really not long enough to fix a mental illness. You know we wouldn't expect cancer to be fixed in a month," said Young.

    Professionals at the Western Arkansas Counseling and Guidance Center said spotting violence in children is harder than it seems.

    "There is no disorder or diagnosis that would throw up a red flag and say this person is going to harm someone else," said Jim West of Western AR Counseling and Guidance Center.

    Psychologists said changes in behavior, sleep, or eating habits could be a sign of mental illness. Experts encourage parents to seek help if their child needs it.

    "You know your child, so focus on your instincts," said Clayton Mitchell.

    It is help Young wants for her son and others like him.

    "We need help. The moms need help. We can't do it alone," said Young.

    In Young's petition, she also asked that police have the authorization to transport mentally ill patients to hospitals. She said more legislation to help mentally ill persons is the best way to stop crime before it starts.

    Several online petitions have been created on the White House website since last Friday's tragedy in Connecticut. Some petitions are rallying for more gun laws while others are urging an increase in mental health care.

    To view and sign any of those petitions, click here.

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