Having Hope with Mental Illness
Updated: Wednesday, February 20 2013, 07:34 PM EST
JAMESTOWN — Pam Harris’ 14-year-old son doesn’t always smile as he does in the photo proudly displayed in her dining room.
The courts say he can’t live in her home because his mental illness makes him a danger to his three younger children.
He lives, instead, with his father.
Pam still fears for her youngest kids, herself, and others.
“My fear is he’s going to wake up one day…and I’m going to have a newsperson at my front door wanting to know why my son did what he did,” she said.
He was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder as a four-year-old.
As he grew up he became prone to hallucinations and had trouble controlling his rage.
Still, she remains positive about his future.
Her biggest hope for him: “Get a job. Be a functioning citizen.”
In order to do that, the family will need to be able to continue to afford medication to control his illness. It’s a task the single, working-mom struggles to do for herself and all four of her kids.
The entire family has been diagnosed with some form of depression and anxiety after living with a violent child for so long.
Medicaid pays for her children’s medications, but she is not covered.
On a limited income she’s afraid she might one day be unable to afford her medications.
But Pam sees reason to be positive, after mass shootings shown a spotlight on mental illness and Gov. John Kasich, (R )-Ohio, made an impassioned plea to expand Medicaid coverage to help Ohio’s poor and mentally ill.
“We can help and I want all of you to think about that,” Kasich told lawmakers during his annual State of the State address Tuesday night.
The governor’s plan continues to be a tough pill for some lawmakers to swallow.
After the speech Republicans who control the General Assembly said they were no more prone to back Kasich’s plan.
They are afraid it relies too much on federal money that may not be available a few years down the road.
To them Pam offers the advice she gives other families who struggle with mental illness: “Don’t give up. There’s got to be some way.”
Reporter: Dana Jay
Web Producer: Kellie Hanna