CBS NEWS – While most kids his age were wrapping up their junior year of high school, Daniel was in [his room].
“It was like I was sitting in a gigantic FedEx box being shipped somewhere,” he said. “But like, add one bed and the door had to be closed at all times.”
Daniel’s years of mental health struggles, stretching back into his early childhood, came to a head in early 2022. His often-uncontrollable emotional outbursts became unmanageable; he was “unraveling,” his parents said.
CBS News is only using the first names of former patients interviewed for this story to protect their privacy.
Fearing Daniel might harm himself, his parents took him to the only place they could: the emergency room.
After seven days in the ER, Daniel was discharged; hospital staff felt he was no longer in danger. His parents disagreed.
“We were like no, no, no, he is so not ready,” his mom Kathe said. “We’ve been waiting and waiting, but he is not ready.”
Daniel’s therapist even wrote a letter to the hospital saying he wasn’t ready to be released. But the hospital said he needed to go home.
Ten days later, he was back in the ER — this time at another nearby hospital, where he would stay for 19 days.
“There’s barely any room in the [hospital] room to walk around,” Daniel, now 18, said. “So I was just sitting on my bed all of the time. I had some rough times there, like it was really difficult to, like, stay put, you know, and that’s what they expected [me] to do.”
Instead of the intensive mental health care he needed, Daniel said he got very little help while in the room.
“Dan, rightfully so, he was like, what am I doing here?” Kathe said. “This is not help. You promised help. Where’s the help?” …