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Family fights for mental health awareness

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Posted at 10:05 AM, May 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-20 10:05:01-04

It's a parent's worst nightmare, losing a child with such a bright future ahead.

Sixteen year old Ian Hartley was a Charlotte High School soccer star. He was passionate about photography and wanted to become a 911 operator, but then depression set in.

"We don't understand quite why he was struggling, and what necessarily was going on in his head," says his mother Julie Hartley.

In early May, his mom says Ian had a suicide plan. They sought treatment at local facilities, but on May 2, he jumped from a Charlotte area bridge onto I-69 below.

"We were hopeful that it wasn't as bad as we had thought, but, that wasn't the case," says Julie.

Now, his mom is sharing his story to raise awareness and inspire change.

"If we can help save one person's life because they make a change in the policy, then that is what our goal is," she says.

A child psychiatrist I spoke with in October says depression is like living in a black hole.

"It's dark and they can't see what is going on," says Dr. Paul Liu.

She fought for her son, and now, she's fighting to save others.

"I'm scared this is going to happen to somebody else," says Julie.

I reached out to the facilities where Ian sought mental health treatment.

McLaren Hospital tells me they can't comment on specific patients, but sent an email statement from Linda Peterson, MD, FAPA, FAPM, psychiatrist and Chief Medical Officer of McLaren Greater Lansing:

"Our hearts go out to Ian’s family and friends as they, and the entire community, mourn this tragic loss. The entire McLaren family including the physicians, nurses and clinical staff in our emergency department, on our inpatient units, and in our community clinics, see the impact of our nation’s mental health crisis each and every day. This epidemic is affecting countless adults, teens, and children alike.

Every day, more than a dozen people we care for in our emergency department are fighting to cope with a mental health condition. We create an individualized plan of care for each patient based on evidenced-based practices and Michigan’s mental health code guidelines. Our physicians, nurses, and staff do their absolute best to care for every person who walks through our doors seeking help, often times in crisis situations.

Mental health care was even one of the priorities identified by mid-Michigan residents during a recent Community Health Needs Assessment and remains something that the entire health care community can continue to collectively address."

We haven't heard back from Community Mental Health yet.