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Wife describes her husband’s struggle with mental health behind bars

SUMNER COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) – A frustrated woman has shared her story with News 2 in hopes of raising awareness of the challenges she faces trying to get her husband – who is currently being held in Sumner County Jail – for help in sanity he would need.

The story provides insight into the challenge facing the justice system across the county, with health experts saying it’s often a vicious cycle of long waiting lists, self-medication and recidivism.

Cecelia Bottoms didn’t mince words when speaking about her 38-year-old husband, Joshua Bottoms, who was arrested after he allegedly stole a vehicle from a woman at knifepoint and led authorities on a three-year chase. hours inside and outside of Sumner and Davidson counties in late October.

“I called for help because it was creaking, it was breaking and no one would listen to me,” Cecelia said.

Joshua, whose criminal record dates back to 2003, was on probation when he was last arrested. Medical documents show he was admitted to a local hospital two weeks before the latest incident and diagnosed with psychosis.

Cecelia received an email with phone numbers to call for further processing and a message that said “Good luck”, which she described as insensitive. Although Cecelia called several times, she said no one ever answered.

“I didn’t know what else to do,” she says.

Nathan Miller, who has never treated Joshua, has worked in the behavioral health field for 25 years. According to him, this story is more common than you think.

“The need, of course, is overwhelming at this point,” he explained. “The numbers are always disproportionate.

“You often end up having a waiting list, especially with inpatient centers, inpatient beds for hospitals, addiction treatment centers,” Miller added.

In addition, self-medication often comes into play.

“They’re trying to deal with it in a way that’s not necessarily conducive to better health, so we have the addiction issue on top of a mental health issue, which happens simultaneously, which leads to more interaction with the police, plus jail time,” Miller said.

Cecelia, feeling helpless and hopeless, cried as she asked, “What do I do? What is his son doing?

She acknowledged that without the proper treatment, the cycle will continue.

“They just throw them the key, throw them away, then expect them to be fine, then send them out into the world again,” Cecelia said, adding that her husband needed help.

News 2 contacted Joshua’s court-appointed attorney to ask if a psychiatric evaluation would be requested. We have not yet received a response.

Richard Dement

The author Richard Dement