Randall Fife, who had suffered from mental health issues for years, was shot and killed on the night of August 22nd after a standoff with police.
It was a night of complete and utter shock for the Fife family. Their loved one, Randall Fife, who had suffered from mental health issues for years, was shot and killed on the night of August 22nd after a standoff with police.
“They just blasted through the door and I heard them say, ‘Cops hit, cops hit,'” Randall’s mother, Kelly Fife, said. “What happened next…I said, oh, they just killed your brother,” she said.
This was the result of an episode in which Randall pulled a gun on his family, believing them to be imposters. Over the years, Kelly sought help in getting him admitted to various psychiatric hospitals.
“As required by law, they just detain him for about three days and then send him away…well, not really,” Kelly said.
At one point, Randall left a message for his mother inside a psychiatric hospital where he was having another episode.
“Hey, mom, there’s a lot of people here who are trying to kill me. They made it look like a riot, and then they made it look like I committed suicide, and they’re about to kill me. .I just wanted to tell you that I love you.Okay, goodbye.”
A few days later they released him.
It was like a revolving door. Ohio no longer houses the mentally ill as it once did. So when psychiatric facilities like Woodside Hospital closed in 1996, the lack of care created cracks in the system.
“There is no place to hold an individual long-term,” said Mahoning County Probate Judge Robert Luz. “This is the reality in Ohio. Inpatient care is very expensive,” he said.
There are mental health resources available, but not many for those who are resistant to care. Mr Kelly said his son did not want help, and because he is an adult and he has never been diagnosed as “incompetent” he was not forced to receive it. . So what can you do?
Duane Piccarelli, director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Commission, said, “A person may go to see Judge Luz’s staff and walk them through the steps to see if they qualify for some type of guardianship or protective services.” He said, “I’ll help you.”
It means having a designated person legally responsible for the care of an individual who is unable to manage his or her own affairs. But Judge Luz says even that wasn’t an option in this case.
“That doesn’t solve any problems because individuals still have autonomy,” Judge Luz said. “If they don’t want treatment and don’t want help, no parent can force them to do it,” he says.
Judge Rusu said his Fresh Start program might be a good way to go.
“We bring them in every two weeks to see how they’re doing. A case manager comes in with them and we talk and make sure they stay healthy and manage their mental health. I’m trying to help you understand why it’s important for you to continue taking your medication,”’ Judge Ruth said.
The process begins with an affidavit of mental illness listing instances that meet the criteria to qualify for the program, followed by a court hearing.
Michelle Wirth, clinical director of the Mahoning County Mental Health and Recovery Commission, said, “The Mental Health and Recovery Commission, we provide expert testimony and allow the individual to meet with the client. We will provide witnesses.”
After hearing their testimony, Judge Luz will decide whether the client belongs in the program.
To date, 140 people have enrolled in the program, of which 113 have successfully completed it. He has 15 players who need to return, and the rest are still being registered.
This is a program open to anyone over the age of 18 and more information on how to enroll can be found by contacting the Mahoning County Mental Health Recovery Board or the Mahoning County Probate Court.