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Helping Ohio's Mentally Ill Population
GREENE COUNTY -- Many state and local leaders say services and resources for the mentally ill are severely lacking in Ohio.
Paulie Schenck, 42, had been dealing with bipolar disorder since he was a teenager. The Yellow Springs resident was shot and killed by police following an hours-long standoff that came to a head when Schenck fired at officers.
"If we are to prevent future such tragedies from happening, we must, as Paulie's mother put it, open our eyes to the many walking wounded upon us," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine.
Paulie's mother told investigators he would not regularly take the medication prescribed and refused to stop abusing alcohol. Experts say it's a common story among the mentally ill.
"People don't seek the treatment. It's the way it used to be about cancer, we would whisper about it. We whisper about mental illness," said ADAMHS Executive Director Helen Jones-Kelley.
Under current state law, it's very difficult for parents to force their mentally ill adult children to seek help. Judges can only sentence mentally ill defendants to jail or an inpatient hospital.
"We ought to learn from this. We have some huge problems in the mental health system in the state of Ohio," DeWine said.
DeWine says legislation is being considered that would allow judges to offer mandatory outpatient treatment as well, which is an option that could feel a lot less daunting to those with a mental illness.
Miami Valley Crime StoppersIf you have information about a crime that has occurred, call Miami Valley Crime Stoppers at 937-222-7867 (STOP) 800-637-5735, 24 hours a day. Callers can remain anonymous.
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