MANDEVILLE, LA (CBS/WWL) -- Police say Chelsea Thornton murdered her two young children Wednesday, and as the investigation unfolded, relatives used the terms bipolar and schizophrenic when describing past diagnoses for Thornton.
They say she hadn't been taking medication recently. As investigators look deeper into Chelsea Thornton's history of mental illness, those who work in the mental health field say this case could prove to be another wake-up call.
Thornton is being held without bond on first degree murder charges. According to Thornton's mother, Chelsea Thornton had spent time at a mental hospital in Mandeville and had received treatment on the Southshore for her illnesses.
As investigators look deeper into Chelsea Thornton's history of mental illness, those who work in the mental health field say, this case could prove to be another wake up call. Celeste Falconer says, "This is something that, as a society, we need to address in what services and what support are we giving people with a mental illness."
Celeste Falconer, with the St. Tammany branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, says, even in severe cases, treatment can make a huge impact on a patient. She says, "It is really something that is like anything from high blood pressure to diabetes, and with the appropriate diagnosis, with the appropriate intervention and therapy and support, there is recovery."
While not commenting on this specific case, Dr. Leanne Truehart with the St. Tammany Parish Coroner's Office says withdrawing from treatment or services, can be dangerous. She says, "For people that have severe mental illness, that, it is very important for them to take medication on a regular basis, to follow up with their mental health provider."
And as mental health professionals highlight the negative impact budget cuts to services across the state will bring, they stress help is available. Truehart says, "There are people that are interested. There are people that care and there is help available. So, if you're struggling, or you know somebody who is struggling, to reach out and to ask for help."
The professionals on the Northshore were actually preparing to hold a lecture on mental health issues for women during their child-bearing years. Again, they stress those feeling like they need help, to reach out.