Pulaski County family bringing awareness to mental illnesses by sharing their story
The state of Georgia has several mental health facilities, but that's not the case in many rural communities.
HAWKINSVILLE, Georgia(41 NBC/WMGT) — The state of Georgia has several mental health facilities, but that’s not the case in many rural communities.
A Pulaski County family is sharing their story during Mental Health Awareness Month.
The Quigg family has been impacted by mental illness for years.
“Bill was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was 20, and we’ve been dealing with that for a very long time,” Bill Fowler’s aunt, Cozetta Chase, said.
Chase recalls getting the call on May 4 that her 31-year-old nephew had stabbed her father multiple times at their home on Upper River Road in Hawkinsville.
She says Bill’s episodes were gradually increasing prior to that incident.
“I think his delusions and his hallucinations were worsening, and they didn’t have the right medications yet, because there’s really nobody here that can diagnose or work with mental health as severe as Bill’s,” she said.
The family was forced to travel hours at a time to facilities in other counties. All the while, they say, there were no signs pointing to Bill getting better.
According to the family, Bill had killed the family dog in the living room, and moments later went into his grandfather’s room and stabbed him multiple times while he slept.
Harry Quigg says the memory of Bill stabbing him replays in his mind every day.
“It was just a nightmare” Quigg said. Quigg says he’s since forgiven Bill for what happened.
Bill was taken into custody and is still in the Pulaski County Jail, but the family says the photos taken that day were not the Bill they knew.
“He’s a really sweet boy, and he loves his granddaddy, and he tries to help him as much as possible,” Bill’s grandmother, Jewel Quigg, said.
Bill pushed Jewel the night of the incident, leaving her with a concussion.
The Quigg family is one of many families facing mental illnesses every day.
Taylor Regional Hospital in Pulaski County reports three to five cases a month, but according to doctors, that number has continued to increase.
“Don’t just give up and run back home and hide,” registered nurse Alex Jones said. “You need to seek help and try to get it.”
Jones believes the pandemic is a contributing factor for the increase in reported incidents.