A Video Of An Adult Crying About Their Mom Kicking Them Out Is Getting Backlash — But The Reactions Overlook A Harsh Truth

The response to a person with shizophrenia's viral TikTok totally misses the point.

Screenshots from person with schizophrenia's TikTok and responses to it @dailyabanpreach/TikTok

Ask anyone who's dealt with it and they'll tell you—"the American mental health system" is an oxymoron.

It's been this way for decades, and yet many of us act as though plenty of help is out there if people with mental illness would simply try harder to access it.

Case in point—a young person with schizophrenia has gone viral with a video of their mother evicting them from her home. And the response has been predictably ignorant.


At first blush the video seems like yet another entitled young person kicking and screaming as their parents give them tough-love.

And that may well be the case—the video doesn’t provide enough context to know. That hasn't stopped commentators from presuming to have all the answers, of course.

But nearly all of the responses are out of touch with a fundamental reality.

The American mental health system is broken to the point of barely existing, and if you don't have extensive resources, you're left to die.

I know because I have been through it, and I only barely survived.

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The TikTok video shows a young person with schizophrenia being evicted by their mother for "living in squalor" and being a "bully," and most commenters have taken the mother's side.

The TikTok has gone viral after being picked up by popular YouTube commentators Aba N Preach in a video they created called “‘Mental Health’ Is Being Used To Excuse EVERYTHING.”



In their response, the pair defended the person with schizophrenia’s mother, and a chorus of commenters agreed.

Several said they personally know people with schizophrenia who have lived "normal" lives and claimed that if their loved one can do it, so can this young TikToker.


“Been married to a bipolar schizophrenic for 22 years,” one commenter wrote. “He’s worked the entire 22 years.”

Others claimed the young person, who says they are also physically disabled, just "doesn't want help" and would "rather be a victim."

But all these sweeping generalizations ignore that every mental health condition and patient is unique, and that the "resources" out there are shockingly few and difficult to access.

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The American mental health system is in shambles, and accessing help requires financial and mental resources many mentally ill people simply do not have.

Kaitlin Skog is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor in Chicago who has worked extensively with people with schizophrenia, including those who are unhoused.


Her first job was to help patients access assistance with mental health treatment, food, housing and disability income—systems she called “bonkers."

“You have to have some type of medical diagnosis,” to access many services, she told me, which comes “mostly via private entities where you need insurance or have to pay out of pocket.”

That often makes a diagnosis impossible to access.

And due to our for-profit healthcare system, most hospitals are of little help to people with mental illness.

"They get 'em in there, get 'em stabilized and get 'em out," Skog said, a system nicknamed "treat ‘em and street ‘em" that has had catastrophic impacts on homelessness and many other issues.


Even for patients with a firm diagnosis, applying and qualifying for services like disability income requires meticulous medical and financial documentation and a battery of interviews.

It's a process that “requires executive function many with mental illness just don't have,” Skog said, and it can take months or even years, often requiring the help of an attorney.

Because of all this, mental health resources for the poor, uninsured or unhoused, including clinical treatment, are mostly handled by charities and non-profits.

Those non-profits are underfunded, understaffed and overcrowded, so they are routinely forced to turn people away.


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I have dealt firsthand with the American public mental health system, and the experience was traumatizing.

Ten years ago I had a mental breakdown that led to a psychotic break—an event in which the brain loses touch with reality—and a lengthy suicidal episode.

Many things led to my crisis over the course of many years, but the straw that broke the camel’s back was both my parents' severing ties with me for being gay. (My father and I have since reconciled.)

This meant I had no family support—financial or emotional—and I was also broke, recently laid-off, and single, so I had no money and no partner to help either. 


Thankfully my friends intervened, and one gave me shelter. There, I got on Medicaid and began calling clinics and hospitals for help.

None took Medicaid, so I was referred to charities but was bluntly told, “they’re always full, so good luck.”

I quickly found that to be true—when I could get someone on the phone, that is.

Waiting for a response from these services went on for weeks, during which I was in and out of touch with reality and receiving horrifying directives from my brain, which terrorized not only me but my friend who took me in, too. 

Finally, after more than a month of fruitless attempts and desperation to make it all stop, I resorted to begging for help.


“I know this isn’t your fault or your problem. But I am terrified of my brain and if I don’t find help soon I am going to die. Is there anyone you can refer me to, even if you think it’s futile.”

Maybe it was my pitiful words, maybe it was just luck, but the person on the other end of the line relented and gave me a name.

That person couldn’t help me, and neither could the person he referred me to — but the person after that knew of a woman he went to grad school with.

She wasn’t practicing anymore but agreed to meet with me during her lunch hour anyway.

She had a contact at a clinic that had been at capacity for years and had already turned me away, but she called and begged on my behalf.


They agreed to take me on for just $10/week — a rate the therapist assigned to me agreed to let stand when she went into private practice a year later.

We will have been working together for 10 years in October, and she has utterly changed and saved my life.

It’s tempting to cast this as a happy ending in which a scrappy upstart pulled himself up by the bootstraps and relentlessly worked to find the help he needs.

But go back and read how it happened—it was only because after nearly two months on the phone on the brink of obvlivion, a series of people took pity on me.

I didn't get help because the system worked. I got help because the system failed.


My therapist later told me she had never in her entire career seen anyone who was able to do what I did.

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"Almost nobody survives what you survived," she told me. "It just doesn’t happen.”

I don’t know how or why I was able to do what I did, but my harrowing experience pales in comparison to many others', who end up unhoused or, more often than not, in a prison or a grave.

And I often wonder—if I'd been Black, or a woman, or an immigrant, or an addict, or gender non-conforming, or unhoused... 

If I didn't have good manners and the educated bearing of a college graduate and all the other things that make me what our culture deems "respectable" and “worthy"... 


Would anyone have been willing to help me? Would those people have taken pity on me?

I’d like to think so, but I’m not so naive to believe it—and responses like the ones this TikTok have elicited show me I'm right not to.

Nobody should be forced to work as hard as I did, while as ill as I was, to get help with their illness, and nobody who loves a person with mental illness should have to witness what I endured.

It is barbaric.

Maybe the person with schizophrenia in this TikTok did deserve to be kicked out of their mother's house.

Maybe they do need tough love, maybe it is time for them to grow up and take responsibility. We have no real way of knowing.


Here’s what we do know.

There is a reason the United States has one of the highest suicide rates amongst wealthy nations.

There is a reason every city in this country is drowning in unhoused people with obvious mental health conditions. 

And it isn’t because they aren’t willing to get help.

It’s because the help isn’t there—despite the fact we pay for it with our tax dollars—and it hasn’t been there for decades.

It would be great if we could all think about that—and better yet, do something about it. Beyond putting in our two cents in the comments of a TikTok, that is.

If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.


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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.