Local News

Mother Fears Her Son Is Slipping Through Mental Health System

Posted April 30, 2007

— One mother in the Triangle is campaigning for better mental health care. Tragically, she has a story that gets people’s attention: her son fits a similar profile to the troubled man who carried out the Virginia Tech massacre.

Eileen Marks says she has noticed the signs, but she has few options.

When she heard of the shootings at Virginia Tech, she thought only one thing.

“In my mind, I thought, ‘Oh, my God! The shooter is my child.’ The profile is the same,” Marks said Monday.

She said that, like the shooter, Seung Hui Cho, her 18-year-old son tried to commit suicide, has been committed to a mental hospital, twice, has stalked girls at school and has heard voices in his head.

“I've had the police department here several times to intervene in aggressive situations,” she said.

Now, because of problems with her insurance, her son has no doctor and his medication will soon run out. She said she's not sure what to do.

“It's scary,” Marks said.

She said, “There's not a lot of resources out there,” and mental health officials don't dispute her assessment.

“You can sometimes call up a child psychiatrist’s office, and it can take two months to get an appointment,” Marks said.

Dr. Thomas Cornwall is the medical director at Holly Hill Hospital in Raleigh. He said that while resources may be slim, there is also an overreaction of sorts to major catastrophes.

“We had it with Columbine. We're seeing it with Virginia Tech,” Cornwall said.

“I've had a couple of kids from local colleges committed this past week that way, so there's this overreaction that people get sometimes,” Cornwall said.

Marks, however, said she's not overreacting. She's being proactive, she said.


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  • kelleyv May 1, 2007

    Hope you didn't think I was laughing at you. I am totally on your side. Seeking medical treatment and support for mental conditions should not be so difficult in this country. I cannot understand why our government cuts funding for health issues. As voters, we need to make clear to elected officials what we want from them and be sure to be pro-active in following up with them. As Sigil said, we need to be better voters.

  • Joy4u2 May 1, 2007

    People think its funny to have a mental problem and that its fake ( wrong ) I'm a bipolar 2 I have no insurance if this lady is reading this and I pray to God she is, theres a criess center up from holly hill on the left go there and they will get him on meds. This is how I get my meds now and I thank God for them, so people you sit back and point your finger and laugh, but dealing with this every day is like working 48 hrs in 8, but you can't understand that either.

  • kelleyv May 1, 2007

    Sigil, I agree!!!

  • Michael Kenyon May 1, 2007

    kelleyv - 'We need better elected officials.'

    Sadly, we're getting just what we elected. Perhaps we need better voters...

  • kelleyv May 1, 2007

    I spoke too soon. Seems our money is being spent more wisely on such important things such as $3mill on a drag racing hall of fame, $3.5mill for advanced vehicle research (?). I'm sure Mrs. Marks is relieved.

  • kelleyv May 1, 2007

    It always totally amazes me that if the country wants to start a war, say in Iraq, we find billions of dollars for it. But if we want to save our children or support our elders, there's no money? We need better elected officials.

  • Michael Kenyon May 1, 2007

    Actually, a talk with a psychiatrist friend recently mentioned that public mental health is rapidly disappearing, and that even private mental health is being stretched to the breaking point. Not only the "shooters", but many of the homeless you see wandering about with shopping carts have mental issues. If the current trend continues, we'll be in for a he|| of a sad ride in a few years.

    That's what my psychiatrist friend said. Or was it the microwave...?

  • Michael Kenyon May 1, 2007

    Um, that last post was supposed to say "Sarcasm""/Sarcasm" with angle brackets, but wral ate them.


  • Michael Kenyon May 1, 2007

    Thank goodness we don't need Dix anymore!

  • uncange1 May 1, 2007

    erggg, the $4 drug plan is in NC...I just had some filled the other day.

    How sad that this mother can get no help for her son. We had a similar situation with a family member. Unless we could prove she was a threat, we could do nothing (she heard voices, though people were following her, stalked others, etc.)