What can you do if someone in your family is experiencing a mental health crisis?
Pontiac, Michigan. – The chronicle of what happened in Pontiac with Monica Canady and her two sons, 9-year-old Kyle Milton and 3-year-old Malik Milton, is still very difficult to hear, read, and process.
A mother and her children froze to death in a field in Pontiac.
Many of us at Local 4 have families, we are both parents.
I haven’t covered this tragedy yet. I only listened to him as my colleagues gathered the facts, working hard to present those disturbing details in sensitive ways and ask questions about what happened — who was in contact with Cannady and what was the true timeline of events?
timetable: The Pontiac Woman’s activity collapsed, the deputies called before her, two boys froze to death
We are saddened, shocked, and horrified that in the year 2023, a mother and her children have disappeared in a horrific way.
The mother was suffering from a psychological crisis.
We want to dig as deep as we can to answer this question: If you had someone you love in crisis, what could you do?
Now, again, in the year 2023, the answer we’re getting is: Call 911.
Is that good enough? What will happen?
Another answer: Take your loved one to the emergency room.
What if they refuse to go?
Should you involve the court system?
I’ve reached out to former Wayne County Judge Vonda Evans.
The former judge is very excited about this shocking case.
Here’s our interview, and you’ll see there are no easy answers:
What about the Court of Ten Commandments? How about getting our court system involved to help bail someone out?
Well it depends. Have you created a history with your loved one about mental health challenges? Would the official consider your loved one a danger to himself or others? In her time on the bench, Evans says, she has seen where efforts failed in probate court.
Evans says this case should be the last wake-up call for both Lansing and Washington.
She wants to see mental health crisis centers in our neighborhoods where there aren’t any right now. You want more education, and you want us in the media to continue to shed light on this crisis.
Funding required. Lots of funding.
911 is often the only option for family members
I immediately thought of clinical psychologist Dr. Rose Motin.
Moten has been the key person during incidents of a mental health crisis in her family, and she speaks candidly about what she did and what was often the only option for family members. Moten called 911.
You can watch our interview with Moten below:
What about the court? What about the laws in the books?
Moten says did you create a record with your loved one? Doctor visits, prescribed medications, hospitalization?
You don’t need a lawyer, but you do need to be armed with information, and the truth is, most families don’t have a file on their loved ones.
The long-term answer for all of us, Moten says, is if there is any history of mental illness in our families, get our kids into counseling now as a precaution.
If you gave her a magic wand, Moten asked, what would mental health services look like?
She had a short answer: financing.
Funding for mental health care was cut off 20 years ago, she says, and we are seeing the second generation of our loved ones in crisis with nowhere to go, and their family members often at a loss. She says that this crisis has reached a boiling point.
Today, there is no additional financing. There are no crisis centers in the neighborhoods. The police are exhausted, we have seen accidents that lead to more tragedies.
There is now 911. There is ER. Perhaps there is a probate court and many of us are still searching for the right answer.
And this question hovers above all: How could this happen to a mother and her children?
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