Thursday, November 28, 2013

“[T]he judge told our son: ‘I want you to take your medication, and if you don’t take the medication, I’ll put you in the state hospital,’” Mihelish told NPR. The young man followed the judge’s orders and now – nearly 30 years later – Milhelish says his son is doing “pretty darn good.”



(Nov. 25, 2013) Montana’s civil commitment laws allowed Gary Mihelish’s oldest son to begin the road to recovery after being diagnosed with schizophrenia, a journey Mihelish described this weekend on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday (“Caring for a schizophrenic son, worrying about the future,” NPR, Nov. 24).
fathersonMihelish said the first sign that his son might have a mental illness was that he “began to isolate and he just withdrew into himself. We thought it might just be adolescence, an adjustment.”
The situation worsened for the Mihelish family when the young man entered his 20s and took off to California following a psychotic breakdown. “He had no money, was living on the streets,” his father said. Upon his son’s eventual return home and a mental health evaluation, he was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Finally, things began to stabilize as a result of a civil commitment hearing. “[T]he judge told our son: ‘I want you to take your medication, and if you don’t take the medication, I’ll put you in the state hospital,’” Mihelish told NPR.
The young man followed the judge’s orders and now – nearly 30 years later – Milhelish says his son is doing “pretty darn good.”
Gary Mihelish became a lifelong advocate for mental illness treatment law reform as a result of his son’s experience. He received NAMI’s “Distinguished Service Award” in 2013 and has consistently worked with the Treatment Advocacy Center to improve his state’s treatment policies so that even more families can benefit the way his own family did.
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www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org

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