In early March, we introduced you to a Centerline family fighting to get mental health services for their 7-year-old.
At their breaking point, they reached out to Action News looking for help and a lot has changed since our first story aired.
After fighting for seven years to get Christian Holman inpatient mental health treatment- all it took was our four minute story for an emergency injunction to be put into place and Christian has been hospitalized ever since.
For this family there is no solution, no cure, but now things are better.
The biting, hitting, tantrums and violence was all part of their normal. Christian’s father, Doug, says his Christian stabbed the dog, burned down the house and erupts in rage without notice.
“I was told I needed to bring my son in for an emergency evaluation- this hospital he’s in, he has never been able to get into, they just claim he’s never met the criteria,” Doug said.
After featuring Christian on Action News detailing his father’s struggles with getting his son mental health care – Christian has received the help Doug has been fighting for his whole life.
“They were denied, denied, denied we were told the consumer/child did not meet criteria, there was enough in home supports,” he said. “Well when I reached out to Channel 7, Channel 7 did a lot more investigating and obviously pushed a lot of buttons in the right place.”
Christian has been in Hawthorn- a residential mental health facility- ever since getting treatment for the severe cognitive damage done from a mother who drank, smoked and used drugs heavily during pregnancy.
“It burns me up like most parents who were denied services time and time again, (told) there’s nothing in the budget, we don’t have the funds available, we have to pay out of pocket for this, we have to authorize this,” he said. “I’m just thankful that me reaching out to the news got my son to where he’s at.”
Doug says he was told for years Christian did not meet the criteria for Hawthorn or any other juvenile residential mental health facility in the stat. Christian is now there indefinitely getting treatment Doug says doctors say he so desperately needs. It’s treatment Doug says other families shouldn’t have to fight so hard to get.
“We need to unite, we need to come together, we need to go to Lansing, we need to talk in front of legislation to try to get some laws changed for the mental health system,” he says.
Christian has celebrated a birthday since we last saw him, Doug says he seems much happier in the structured setting. They’re currently repairing his damaged room and the damage this struggle has put on their family.
"Unfortunately, Christian’s going to live with this his whole life, this isn’t going to be an easy road,” he said. “I hate that it had to come to this, but I’m also happy it came to this.”
While we're happy Christian is getting the treatment he so desperately needs, we also know the Holman family is not alone and there are many other families struggling in silence.
If you're one of them, we want to hear from you. Email reporter Ann Marie LaFlamme at Annmarie.firstname.lastname@example.org.