One can only imagine the shock and joy 10 year old Evan Olsen experienced when he spotted his missing and presumed dead mother in a Youtube video. Evan’s mom Jamie Garlinghouse, had been missing for over nine months, and suffered with Schizophrenia. They did not live in the same household, but his mom was part of his life until she disappeared one day. She had already been presumed dead when Evan came across this video by Brooke Roberts. The video was shot on skid row, in Los Angeles, where Brooke approached Jamie and she was caught on camera.
Evan excitedly told his dad Eddie he had seen his mom on the video, and the two quickly emailed Brooke who initially thought they were joking. After flying to Los Angeles Eddie managed to find Jamie, but her Schizophrenia had gotten far worse as she had gone off her medication, and she had no interest in returning home in that state. Brooke stepped in and helped Eddie raise thousands of dollars to get Jamie the medical and psychological help she needed. She then agreed to return and the video shows the happy mother and son reunion.
The video also shines a light on the devastating, and huge mental health problems being faced by thousands of people in North America. More affordable mental health care is badly needed everywhere. Those suffering with mental illness for the most, when in Jamie’s situation fall between the cracks, and are often ignored rather than given the help they badly need. These people are desperately suffering, and often incapable of pursuing help for themselves while actively psychotic. Governments really need to look at developing better outreach programs to assist this vulnerable population, because what is there now is obviously not adequate. Evan is ecstatic to have his mom back and we couldn’t be happier for them. We wish them a long and happy life together.