Mental Health Court Saves Lives


Jacob* was the kind of young man most would consider an adolescent
superstar: a scholar and an athlete, surrounded by a loving family and
good friends. Life seemed as close to perfect as it could be.
But things began to change for him and it seemed that Jacob’s life was
crumbling. His mother was diagnosed with a serious medical condition, a
situation that was understandably stressful for the entire family, but Jacob
began acting very differently than the person his family and friends knew
and loved. One fateful day, something inside him caused his behavior to
escalate to the point that was no longer safe and to protect him and those
around him, the police became involved. Jacob was charged with a felony
and it looked as though he would be spending time in jail. A bright, young
man with a great future, now going to jail…it was unthinkable!

Fortunately, Southern Hillsborough County has a mental health court
program that partners with GNMHC for precisely this kind of situation.
Jacob suffered a psychotic episode, something he and his family didn’t
understand. The resulting behavior was due to an undiagnosed and
untreated mental health disorder.

Sending Jacob to jail would likely have done him further harm.
Thankfully, Jacob’s family was connected with expert clinicians at
GNMHC who advocated that he be considered for the mental health
court project. This program allowed him to be diverted to inpatient
psychiatric treatment, which is what Jacob needed in order to be
diagnosed, treated and stabilized.

Today, eight months later, Jacob is stable, receiving the treatment he needs
and is back on track with the life he had envisioned for himself. He is
enrolled in college, carrying a full-time course load and is pursuing an
intensive and challenging major course of studies. His life is his own
again. His family, including grandparents and other extended family
members, are beyond thrilled with the positive results of what could
otherwise have been a tragedy in a young life. The entire extended family
is fully supportive and involved in his recovery and progress. As for
Jacob’s parents, they are so grateful that the future is bright once again,
and they are more than thrilled to tell the individuals involved in his care:

“You truly saved our son’s life, and we are forever grateful!”

*Name changed for the privacy of client.