Mom fights to improve mental health care after son dies of suicide in Fresno

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- "He sat on the train track and he was praying when he died and it was the hardest day of my life."

Those are tears no parent ever wants to shed and heartbreak no mother or father ever wants to feel.

But that pain is what Michelle Reed is experiencing.

"Every day I have to remind myself it's not a dream, it's not a nightmare, it's real," she says.

The mother of three recently buried her oldest child - 24-year-old Dajon Reed.

For years, he battled schizophrenia and substance abuse.

Back in July, Dajon committed suicide near railroad tracks in northwest Fresno.

If you or someone you know is in emotional distress or considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

"I had hopes and dreams for my son and it really hurts me to my core," she says.

Reed says a year before Dajon took his life, he was allowed to walk out of an in-patient mental care health facility despite a psychiatrist requesting he stay.

"The judge said no, he's fine because he presented well even though the psychiatrist said he needs to stay for a year. How do you determine at that point that he doesn't want treatment? He doesn't know what he needs or wants, he thinks the TV is talking to him," she says.

Now she is trying to stop that from happening to another family with this change.org petition that she plans to send to lawmakers.

"I'm hoping that they will look at the laws for the criteria for the hold and that they will consider family."

While Reed fights in her son's honor, she is finding some comfort with Wednesday's announcement of a partnership between Valley Children's Hospital and Universal Health Services to build a 128-bed behavioral health hospital in Madera.

RELATED: Valley Children's announces new behavioral health hospital for kids in Madera

"I'm very excited about it because it's well-needed so at least it's a step forward."
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