Eric Parks and his mother Ginger Smith have shared a long battle with mental illness. Parks has bi-polar disorder. His first psychotic episode happened when he was 19.
Eric Parks和母亲Ginger Smith长期以来以至与心理疾病抗争，Parks身患双相情绪紊乱，他第一次心理疾病发作是在19岁时。
"I don’t remember much of it. It was just a bad situation. I didn’t feel very good, that’s for sure," Parks said.
"And that was the beginning, the continuation of years of miserable times for Eric and difficult times for the family," Smith said.
Mental illness can prevent people from thinking rationally. Unless they have professional help, people with severe mental illness cannot stick to a schedule, and they stop taking the medications that can keep them grounded.
Parks' mother tried but failed to have her son hospitalized.
Many hospitals in the U.S. do not treat psychiatric patients. Those that do, often release patients after brief stays without the support of a mental health professional to ensure a stable transition. Discharged patients sometimes lack the money to buy their medicines or to pay for follow-up psychiatric services.
Parks ended up homeless, starving and without medication.
"I wasn’t willing to receive treatment. I wasn’t at a point where I was willing to admit that I had a mental illness or I had to take any medications or anything like that," Parks said.