Parents of man shot by police blame mental health care system

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By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- A day after Joshua Dawson was shot and killed by a Phoenix police officer, his parents spoke out about his severe mental health issues. They’re blaming the state’s mental health system for their son's death.
 
“This state's idea of mental health care is either in a jail or at the barrel of an officer's gun,” said Jene Dawson, Joshua Dawson’s father.

Joshua Dawson was shot Thursday morning after reportedly throwing rocks and knives outside of a newly constructed building on Union Hills Drive east of Interstate 17.
 
His parents said he was diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic years ago and eventually turned to meth as a self-medication to silence the voices in his head.
 
The Dawsons said their son had been in and out of court-ordered treatment facilities for years, but he rarely received treatment for more than a couple days after each psychotic break or arrest.

The court also ordered medication, which Joshua Dawson didn’t like taking. His parents said he almost always had to be forced to take his medication.
 
“Everybody I went to, they refused (to help)," said Patricia Dawson, Joshua Dawson's mother. "They said, ‘We can't do anything.’ ”

She said mental health care providers told her, “ 'He has to want to go into a drug program; it has to be his decision.' How does a paranoid schizophrenic with seven voices in his head make a sound decision?”
 
The Dawsons said their son was just released last week from a facility after two weeks of treatment -- the longest he's ever had. But, they said, it obviously wasn’t long enough.
 
“These people were paid to treat my son," Jene Dawson said. "They collected money to treat my son, and all they did was bring him in, sober him up, and thrown him back on the street. That in itself is a crime."

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