AUSTIN (KXAN) — Sandra Bush had no idea what was about to happen when her son, Ben, stood in their living room, samurai sword in hand, and stared at her blankly. Reality had been slipping away from Ben Bush in 2017. He was 33 years old and struggled with mental illness much of his life. His mother had seen Ben’s delusions snowball before.
There was a cycle: Ben’s psychosis would worsen, sometimes the police would get involved, then he would go for a short and ultimately unhelpful stint in a local mental health facility. The police were frequent visitors at the Bushes’ home in Hutto, a suburb northeast of Austin. Ben, at 6-foot-1 and 260 pounds, managed to keep a good relationship with law enforcement. Sandra would bring the officers donuts.
But that November, Ben’s mental decline reached a climax that would change the trajectory of his life.
Read the rest of Ben’s story in a full article for the “Locked in Limbo” investigation into thousands of mentally ill men and women who are stuck in Texas’ county jails, some waiting more than a year to get the mental health help they need.
More from this investigation
- Explore videos of personal stories and solutions
- Read the article about the Texas inmate backlog and wait times for state hospital help
- Listen to the podcast about a family’s efforts to get their veteran son help after he shot up their home
- Use our resource page for mental health and jail and justice support
- Read about how a murdered woman’s loved ones still search for justice 20 years later
- Read about solutions and alternatives to the current mental competency restoration system
- Read about the background and efforts behind this investigation