10 News has found there are some resources to help those suffering from mental illness, but some people might not know about them. A St. Pete grandmother says she couldn't find help for her daughter.
St. Petersburg, Florida -- A St. Petersburg family spent Monday finalizing funeral plans for a little boy who barely even had a chance to live. Just four years old, police say his own mentally ill mother took his life.
Detectives say Joseph Artis was stabbed several times inside his Jordan Park Apartment in South St. Petersburg Friday. His grandmother says his death could have been prevented because she tried to get help for her daughter on several occasions, but was turned away.
Carolyn Trotter says her daughter Tasha struggled with mental illness and had been off her medication for more than a year. She says while she was never violent towards her son, she did everything to try to get her daughter the mental help she needed but was turned away repeatedly due to privacy laws.
"She was crazy about him too, but her mind all twisted all up there. I personally believe she was bipolar, schizophrenic, manic depressive -- she is probably all those things," Carolyn says.
But on Friday, she believes her mental illness took over.
"It's mind boggling. I know she wasn't in her right mind for what she was doing. She needed mental help bad. She was not getting that."
10 News shared Carolyn's story of frustration and heartbreak with Linda Osmundson of Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA), which is known for helping domestic violence victims.
"Grandmother did everything right. She went to court with her. She did everything right, but she needed an advocate. She needed to push the courts so they understood the serious nature of this mental health problem," Osmundson says.
Osmundson says the system failed her and while most people don't know it CASA has the resources and partnerships with mental health agencies to help. Agencies like Directions for Living in Clearwater and Suncoast Center in St. Petersburg.
"We can advocate for herself and for her child or the grandchild in this case," she says.
While it's too late for the Trotter family now, Carolyn hopes it's information that will save others so her precious grandchild's short life wasn't in vain.
Monday afternoon, Carolyn Trotter was picking out a grave site for Joseph. Meanwhile, her daughter remains in the Pinellas County jail where she faces a charge of first degree murder.
If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental illness and needs help call the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence hotline at 1-800-500-1119. Your call will automatically be routed to an agency in your local community.