Family Tragedy In Irving Highlights Rise In Mental Illness

Mental Health American in Dallas has seen a rise in people testing positive for psychosis, which can cause a person to lose touch with reality.

Video Transcript

- We are learning more about the mindset of an Irving mother who has confessed to killing her own two daughters. As Andrea Lucia reports right now, her family shared with her today that she was suffering from a mental health disorder.

ANDREA LUCIA: Madison McDonald wasn't trying to get away with anything. Monday night she walked into the lobby of the Irving Police Department, called 911, and, police say, confessed to killing her daughter's, six-year-old Archer and one-year-old Lilly. According to an affidavit, she told officers her kids were being abused and that she would do anything to protect her children, including eliminate them.

On a fundraising page, McDonald's cousin wrote, "Madison is suffering from a devastating mental disorder. In her mind, she was protecting them."

BONNIE COOK: We need to be investing in mental health right now.

ANDREA LUCIA: Bonnie Cook is the executive director of Mental Health America of Greater Dallas.

BONNIE COOK: We are seeing an uptick like I have never seen in all my years in nonprofit work.

ANDREA LUCIA: In 2019, the nonprofit saw 3,000 people reach out for help through their online resources. Last year as the pandemic took hold, that number skyrocketed to more than 38,000.

BONNIE COOK: And when the pandemic started, it was anxiety. It was depression. So now as this has continued to drag on forever, the psychosis positive screenings are increasing substantially.

ANDREA LUCIA: Psychosis can cause a person to lose touch with reality, even see, hear, and believe things that aren't real. Since the beginning of this year, Cook says her organization has seen a 28% increase in people testing positive.

Why do you think there would be an uptick in that right now?

BONNIE COOK: I think people have reached their breaking point, and I think as individuals continue to try to deal with their mental illness, it has continued to morph into something even more serious than the occasional depressive episodes.

ANDREA LUCIA: She says there is hope. On Mental Health America's website, you can screen yourself anonymously for anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, and other conditions. The organization also provides guidance on how to get help for you or a loved one. We all have mental health, she says, and we all need to take care of it. Andrea Lucia, CBS 11 News.