January 30th, 2014
08:57 PM ET

Kids in Crisis: Family struggles with mentally ill son

Everyday, it seems there's another story or another headline about a young child who didn't get help they needed in time because the system has failed them.

Adam Lanza shot 20 children and six adults at a Newtown, Connecticut elementary school. And two months ago, Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds was slashed, stabbed, and nearly killed by his mentally ill son, Gus, who took his own life.

The day before that attack, Gus was released from a hospital because there were no psychiatric beds available. It's become a common problem in America, and it is getting worse.

CNN's David Mattingly met with a family who struggled to get the right care for their son.

Mattingly is OutFront with the story:

Thom and Bonnie Shuman dealt with the sorrow that entered their lives by encouraging parents of mentally ill children to fight all they can and never give up.

The Shumans fought for years for their son, Teddy. They worked diligently to raise him through a variety of severe developmental problems but were overwhelmed when he began lapsing into unpredictable and violent rages.

It took more than a decade to finally get him into permanent care at a residential facility. Even then, it took a judge's order after Teddy killed another patient in 2006.

The Shumans try to see their son every weekend and are comforted by the idea that he is finally in a facility equipped to handle him. They say they are no longer "walking on egg shells" in fear of their son's violent outbursts.

But now at retirement age, The Shumans are in debt, their savings are exhausted - and so are they. They want their story known so that mental health care for children might one day be more accessible and affordable.

The numbers suggest their story is being ignored. The state of Ohio has fewer beds available today for psychiatric care of children than it did six years ago.

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