Spokane Teen Released As Concerns Remain

SPOKANE – The case of Bryan Kim sheds light on mental health care in Washington and what happens when the mentally ill don’t get help.

In May, we profiled Anisha O’Toole and her struggle to find treatment for her 17-year-old son, Charles, who is an extremely troubled young man.

Although he’s been getting help since then, in just four days, he will be out of treatment with nowhere to go.

There have been far too many stories recently involving men with mental illness committing violent crime. Charles is trying not to be one of those people, even though his therpaist calls him a troubled boy who in five years will either be in jail or dead.

Just weeks after our story aired, Charles was finally admitted to the Child Study and Treatment Center in western Washington. But today, Charles turns 18 and in the eyes of the state, he’s not a child anymore. He’ll be released in four days, even though he doesn’t have any place to go.

Charles has a long history of mental illness. He has attempted suicide dozens of times, been in and out of treatment, battled drug addiction and been arrested dozens of times. For the last seven months, though, Charles’s mother says he’s made improvements. But Charles is used to the structure he’s been receiving, which is why his mother is so worried that when he’s released, there are few places suitable for him to live.

“Happy, yes, but scared too because he’s not ready, and I’m not ready for him either,” O’Toole says. “He’s aftaid to get out, eally apprehensive that he’s going to end up doing the same thing and going right back to another facility.”

There are two facilities in Spokane that may be able to house Charles. But his therapist says there are very few programs available for someone in his condition. O’Toole is scared he’ll be tempted to start using drugs again.

Charles will find out where he’ll live next week.