Chief External Relations Officer, Mike Reagan, talks about the goals and limitations of the mental health care system

September 24, 2018 (WOOD) – The mother of a man beaten at Rosa Parks Circle had long feared her son would be targeted.

“(I’ve been) very scared for him,” the victim’s mom told Target 8.

On Sept. 13, she received the call she had always dreaded. Her 34-year-old son had been brutally beaten in the head and face the night before at Rosa Parks Circle by a group of between four and six men.

His mom told Target 8 he sustained a fracture to a bone in his face and needed multiple stitches.

He’s expected to recovery physically, but there’s no long-term cure for the mental illness his mom says often puts him at risk.

Statistics show people with mental illness are usually victims of crimes, not perpetrators. The attack at Rosa Parks Circle reflects that research.

It also shines a light on the struggle of West Michigan families whose loved ones with mental illness routinely refuse to comply with medication orders. A symptom of mental illness is the person’s inability to recognize they have one, which makes them think medications aren’t necessary.

Grand Rapids police won’t confirm what they think prompted the group to jump the man around 10:30 p.m. Sept. 12, but the victim’s mom believes her son may have said something that set the men off.

“We seen the symptoms that he was getting out of control, that he couldn’t control what he was saying, what he was doing,” she said of the days leading up to the attack. “He was talking the way an aggressive person would talk. That’s not him. He’s not an aggressive person. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

She said she called her son’s mental health caseworker a few days before the assault to report he was off his meds and acting erratically again, but got little help.

“I asked them was there some kind of place he could go to where they could keep him, watch him and maybe get him on medication and they said, ‘No, at this point he has to do it on his own,'” she recalled.

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