This is a copy of the letter I sent to local media and social media yesterday:
As I sit here reflecting on the last ten years, I beg for help and guidance for my 34 year old brother. May is mental health awareness month. It seems that mental health is not always talked about and it is perceived as shameful. I am one that is not ashamed. I am not ashamed that I have a brother who suffers from schizoaffective disorder. What I am ashamed of is the lack of care and opportunities available to keep him safe, as well as those around him.
Today he was once again kicked out of a group home. He now sits in Denton City Jail due to his actions and will be released tomorrow. Homeless.
He didn’t ask for this. My family and I didn’t ask for this debilitating illness to be put upon him. All, I have asked for the last ten years is for help. I have sat through countless mental health evaluations with him. I have attended mental health court. I have gone in to MHMR slamming my fists begging for assistance. I have called and set up an evaluation to have his benefits increased in order for him to be placed in an affordable long term care facility. I have gone to NAMI meetings. I have called police when he was threatening. All of this to no avail. With all of that said, I decided composing an email was well worth my time.
As a married mom of two and a teacher, I am ashamed of the mental health system and it crushes me that this type of treatment, or lack there of, effects my brother and so many others in our communities. He has lived with me, lived with my mom, my dad, my grandparents, hotels, on his own. None of which were safe for him or neighbors or family because of his unpredictable behaviors.
I could easily write a novel on the trial and tribulations associated with mental illness and share countless tales of his thoughts of being in the FBI, aliens in his walls and me being kidnapped and raped. None of which are true. I could also share the heartbreak of the loved ones who suffer along with him. Instead, I chose to write to you asking for help. Asking for guidance. Asking for an answer to help my brother escape his own imprisonment within himself. As a doctor once told me, “His brain in broke.” How can we, as contributing members of society, sit by and watch this happen time and time again to the mentally ill?
I will not let my brother be just a statistic. Just another tent set up at a homeless camp or another inmate to crowd our jail system.
Any awareness you are able to provide to others or contacts you are able to share with me would be appreciated more than you can ever imagine.
A frustrated and heartbroken sister