Marilyn Rowland knows about mental illness all too well because her son Jon suffered from bi-polar disorder, A.D.D and schizophrenia.
“When you understand the illness and that basis of it, it makes it easier for you to understand your family member, ” Rowland said.
This time of the year is always the most difficult because she’s coming up on the 5 year anniversary of his death.
“It was an accidental overdose with prescription medication and street drugs, which is a deadly combination.”
Jon was just 44-years-old when he died and Rowland is hoping the task force Governor Sam Brownback put together in June of 2013 will take the reins on this issue.
As a Topeka police officer and one of the 16 members of this force, Captain Bill Cochran believes as state there is a question that we have to answer.
“How do we get resources that the state has or has the ability to compile? Then get those down to community based service level and in areas where they’re limited on community resources?”
Along with the report from the task force the team offers a number of suggestions on how problems can be fixed.
“Some of these individuals need that long-term care and so no longer eliminating residential beds but maybe to increasing them,” says Cochran. “Getting those community based services, getting law enforcement on board and trying to get individuals that are suffering a mental health crisis to services.”
As for Rowland her goal is to educate and help others and she has one piece of advice for everyone.
“Not to blame the person that’s mentally ill, they didn’t ask for this disease.”
CLICK HERE to see the mental health task force report