Hussein was born November 5, 1996. His parents were happy to have him. They had tried for years to get pregnant and his older brother was born just over 12 months prior to Hussein. His parents separated when he was three and he lived with his biological mother and grandmother until he was six. At the time his mother had him his siblings, they were homeless so his father took him and his siblings back to Michigan with him with the understanding that once his mother was situated with a job and home they would go back to her. This never happened.
As the years went on two boys told stories about what had happened. The beatings they would get from their grandmother and then their mother when she got home. The grandmother was forcing Hussein to eat peanut butter when he was allergic so he would vomit. These stories weren’t told to his dad and stepmom until years later. Eventually stepmom became “real mom” and biological mother did not come visit or send cards or even call. It wasn’t until years later all the stories were put together to realize what a nightmare the children had lived through.
Late December 2013: Hussein is out shoveling and we call him in to talk to him. “Real mom” saw he has marks around his neck. He admits he tried to hang himself with a belt. Mom gets super upset and calls suicide line, who then sends her to the Emergency Room where she is with Hussein for about five to six hours until they find a room for him at the mental hospital. Mom and dad prefer he doesn’t get on any medications because they are afraid of the side effects; the hospital states either put him on them or come get him. His parents do what they believe is right and follow the advice of the doctor. After about 10 days, Hussein is released to his parents. They get him into counseling and schedule appointments to ensure he keeps up with his medicine.
In April, Hussein gets in trouble at school. The counselors call him in and talk to him. They leave the room for whatever reason and come back to the door being blocked. They get in and find that Hussein has taken shoe lace out and has been trying to hang himself. They call the ambulance and his parents. Mom comes and meets him at the ER. This time it isn’t as long of a wait for him to be transferred over to the mental hospital. Hussein stays there for about a week to two weeks. He is sent home and continues his medications and counseling.
Sometime between April and May stays, mom discovers matches that have been lit in the garage. She confronts Hussein, who states he likes fire because it helps calm him. Mom lets the counselor know this and mom and dad hide all matches and grill lighters so Hussein doesn’t have access to setting fires.
Middle of May- mom gets a Facebook message from one of Hussein’s friends stating he had emailed a bunch of people that he was going to commit suicide. Mom rushes to find where he is. Hussein had taken what he thought was a bottle of Advil (it was actually peas because mom had made it into a rattle for his baby brother). Mom confronts Hussein (for the first time in the 11 years she has had custody of him) that she is terrified of him. The glare he gives is terrifying. Mom sends Hussein into his room and locks door between because she is home alone with him and his little brothers and fears for safety.
Mom picks up phone to call 911, but a knock on the door which happens to be the police. One of his friends he had emailed had called the police. This time Hussein is sent across the state to a mental hospital. While in this hospital Hussein somehow manages to hoard around 17 pills and takes them all at one time and starts his seizure disorder. Hussein spends around a month at that mental hospital and they transfer him back to the mental hospital he had been at the first two times. They wanted him on this side of the state because the county wanted to assess him because of insurance. At this point the hospital changes his medicines to two different ones instead of just one. He is also on an anti-seizure medicine prescribed by the emergency room close to the mental hospital across the state. The county comes and assesses him and determines he should be okay to leave. Mom and dad do not feel like this is safe because he is now on stronger medicine. The county allows him to stay at a rehab place for 2 days and then says he must go home. The mental hospital works out that he can stay at a home for “homeless” teens for two weeks. While there he had yet another seizure. After the two weeks is up he must go home because the state and county says there is no other place for him to go.
Hussein is home and goes to see a counselor every two weeks and psychiatrist every three months. Things seem to be going fine. Hussein is in his senior year in high school. He has been accepted into Western Michigan Aviation school—since moving in with his parents he has always stated he wanted to be a fighter pilot. He has a job. He appears to be happy. He tells mom he doesn’t like his counselor because she isn’t helping him. He states she tells him he needs to figure things out on his own and liked his previous counselor better. Mom jumps on this and is working on setting up an appointment for approximately December 12th or the following week.
December 10, 2014. Mom and dad come home from grocery shopping. Pull into the garage and get out. There is music playing—very strange. Dad looks around and starts yelling ‘no no no no. ‘ Mom is like, what is going on, and starts looking around. Mom screams no, drops what is in her hands. Dad is getting whatever he can find to climb up and cut down his son. Mom immediately calls 911. They come. Hussein was still warm but they tried for two hours to revive him. They couldn’t.
Dad gets all the arrangements made. They have his services. Mom decides to log into his Facebook to see if he had talked to anyone. Mom finds a message to a girl from December 3rd. Hussein had told her he couldn’t handle anything anymore. His counselor told him if he wanted to die nothing she could do. He couldn’t handle the nightmares. His girlfriend had broken up with him. But he still acted happy. Mom had talked to him at three, because he called her to ask a question. Mom says she loves him…he loves her…and the call is ended.
Parents drop his younger sister off and head out to go grocery shopping. Nothing unusual had happened that day. For the past week, despite the breakup he was all smiles. He was happy. Mom and dad think—YES, things are going great. What mom and dad were never told is that once they “decide” they will be happy and at peace. Hussein was this way. Mom and dad were right when they said they weren’t capable of taking care of him. He needed to be monitored by professionals. Professionals did not want to listen.
I share Hussein’s story because we need change. The mental health system is messed up. I’m now on a mission to change.
Hussein’s foundation page is: https://www.facebook.com/
Hussein’s petition to change laws in Michigan is: https://www.change.org/p/
Hussein’s gofundme account to get the foundation moving is: http://www.gofundme.com/