Did Gaps In Mental Health System Allow UT Man to Kill Grandmother?


Experts are stitching together a safety net of services for people with mental illness, but Zachary Weston apparently fell through one of the gaps that remain, says the Salt Lake Tribune. As his mental illness intensified, Weston grew more violent, assaulting relatives and health staff as he bounced between jail and local psychiatric facilities. On Oct. 3, less than a day after being bailed out of jail, Weston allegedly fatally stabbed his 84-year-old grandmother.

Weston’s brother said he had suggested to their mother that she leave Weston, 21, in jail so he would get help. But, “he just keep getting let out,” he said. Weston's father blamed the mental-health system for his son “not getting no damn help” with long-term inpatient care. Experts say only a small percentage of people with mental illness become violent. But that still leaves this question: Are there adequate services for someone like Weston? “There is a system in place, and a lot of individuals get very good care, but there are individuals who are not receiving the care that they need,” acknowledged Rebecca Glather of the National Alliance for Mental Illness, Utah.

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